Every day sick patients are asking how can stem cell therapy help them now. These patients are most likely desperate for any help, as the current medicine or prognosis just isn’t cutting it. And while one day there may be a viable answer of a yes, right now unfortunately, the field is just not there yet. But, others do not share this view and are in fact offering to cure people’s diseases with stem cell treatments, a phenomenon known as stem cell tourism as most cases occur outside this country. Below we discuss a little about this.
What are stem cell treatments?
As was mentioned, stem cell treatments have been developed as a way to intervene in the development of and potentially treat a whole host of illnesses and physical maladies. These include baldness, missing teeth, and blindness, as well as degenerative illnesses like Parkinson’s disease, type 1 diabetes mellitus, heart failure, and even cancer.
The majority of the advertised stem cell treatments utilize adult stem cells, normally harvested from the patient, and these stem cells are introduced into the damaged part of the body. The stem cells then self-renew within the damaged part, promoting growth of new tissues and subsequently replacing the diseased tissues.
Since the stem cells have been harvested from the body of the patient, theoretically, the odds of rejection or fatal side effects are very minimal. Because this is the case, stem cell treatments essentially provide a less invasive, more viable, and more sustainable therapeutic or treatment approach than similar intervention methods like organ transplantation.
Most stem cell treatments are still in the research phase.
Stem cell treatment clinics have been mushrooming everywhere. They are manifold in medical tourism centers in India, China, Ukraine, and Mexico. Even in the United States, where the oversight of the Food and Drug Administration or FDA is strict, stem cell treatment centers operate.
But while this is the case, it is crucial to keep in mind that most stem cell treatments, with the exception of bone marrow transplantation, are still in the preliminary research stages. In fact, studies of these treatments remain so new that finding published results is next to impossible.
Countries like China that study stem cell treatments on a clinical level do not have adequate and up-to-medical-standard documentation processes either, further putting the public in the dark when it comes to stem cell treatments’ efficacy and dangers.
There are several potential risks of stem cell treatments.
Even aside from the preliminary research phases and lack of published results, stem cell treatments have many risks. And the worst part is studies on these risks, as on the treatments’ efficacy, are yet to be explored by the medical community.
For instance, in the case of cancer, there is the danger of further aggravating the progress of the disease. Bear in mind that these treatments involve the introduction of stem cells into the diseased part of the body. Sure, the stem cells will most likely be harvested from the same patient and thus not foreign to the recipient’s body. However, factors such as uncontrolled growth may still occur and therefore further worsen the disease instead of treat it.
Another danger is the unchecked use of the types of stem cells to be administered. In countries without supervision and regulation of these types of intervention strategies, the use of stem cells harvested from sheep and sharks has been reported for treating human patients; an obviously bad situation.
Think twice before choosing stem cell treatments.
While stem cell treatment clinics are popping up all over most of these are scammers who prey on the desperately ill. Another sector has been cropping up offering stem cell treatments for cosmetic purposes as well. With promises of efficient and unfailing treatments, may they be for cosmetics, mild physical maladies, or serious terminal cases, there is no doubt that these treatments can sometimes be tempting to take.
But bear in mind that stem cell treatments—the legitimate ones, that is—are mostly in the preliminary research stages. Because of this, you won’t really be sure whether the treatment you obtain will work or not. And remember, if sounds to good to be true, it probably is. If there was a miracle treatment out there that really does cure horrible diseases, don’t you think every sick patient would be getting it done and being healed? For more information, please visit this website put together by the international society for stem cell research: http://www.closerlookatstemcells.org/
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