Stem cell therapy, which involves the use of stem cells to treat or prevent certain diseases or conditions, is one of a handful of alternative medical treatments gaining in popularity because it allows patients to avoid high-risk, invasive surgical techniques and long recovery times.
What Are Stem Cells?
Stem cells are highly specialized cells that are the foundation of our organs and tissues. Not only do humans grow from an initial, limited pool of stem cells that forms shortly after fertilization (embryonic stem cells), persisting stem cells (adult stem or tissue-specific stem cells) repair injured tissues and replace those cells that die off on a daily basis as a natural part of living. Stem cell treatment holds so many promises due to two rather miraculous properties of these cells: their ability to self-renew and their ability to differentiate.
For some, there are perceived ethical conflicts based on political or religious objections to our use of stem cells to treat disease and illness, but this is often due to a misunderstanding of what cells are typically used in our stem cell therapies. At Solstice Health, we only use autologous (which means “one’s own”) cells from a patient’s own adipose (fat) or bone marrow tissues. These are adult cells, and they have nothing to do with the embryonic cells that cause so much ethical concern.
How Does Stem Cell Therapy Work?
Many patients don’t realize that blood marrow transplants (which are also called hematopoietic stem cell transplants and are one of the earliest forms of stem cell therapy), have been in use for more than 40 years. Bone marrow transplants are a proven therapy for the nearly 20,000 people who are diagnosed each year with a life-threatening blood condition like leukemia or sickle cell anemia.
Although our stem cell therapies do not require donors, the process by which we use patients’ stem cells to treat injury is the same. First, we harvest the necessary adipose or bone marrow cells from a patient. Then, we use minimally invasive procedures to introduce concentrated amounts of the harvested cells into the area of injury.
In our experience, this targeted infusion of cells promotes additional stem cell activity and recruitment, which promotes healing, growth and regeneration of damaged tissue. This is why stem cell therapy of this sort is often called regenerative stem cell therapy, because it is about literally regenerating new, healthy cells to replace damaged ones.
Is Regenerative Stem Cell Therapy Dangerous?
Although there is some level of risk associated with any medical treatment, because our therapies are minimally invasive and use autologous cells (which minimizes the risk of rejection), risk is significantly reduced for our patients. To ensure the integrity of our processes and the safety of our patients, our protocols are certified by the Institutional Review Board (IRB, which is regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
At Solstice Health, we are committed to harnessing the body’s natural ability to heal itself for the betterment of our patients. To learn more about our stem cell therapy treatments, call or visit our office today.