What is cell therapy for? The main function of stem cells is from an individual’s own tissue. It is the regeneration of bone, cartilage, skin, or muscle tissue. On the other hand, blood-derived stem cells can be used for multiple treatments. Treatments for diseases related to the patient’s blood or immune system.
Stem cells also produce red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. We need all of these types of blood cells to keep us alive. For these blood cells to do their job, we need to have enough of them in our blood.
Stem cells stimulate the regeneration of our own tissues. First of all, stem cells produce anti-inflammatory and immunoregulatory phenomena.
Secondly, they can replace other cells damaged by disease, as well as cure leukemias, lymphomas, or myelomas.
Finally, they are also used in other fields such as orthopedic medicine or in skin lesions. There is ongoing research into degenerative diseases or complex pathologies.
What is cell therapy for?
Cell therapy is one of the essential pillars of future medicine. Thanks to the discovery of induced reprogrammed cells (iPS) and the consolidation of cell reprogramming. It is important to keep in mind the following premises about cell therapy:
Firstly participating in these trials offers new possibilities to patients by allowing access to the latest therapeutic advances.
Secondly, stem cells are the basis of regenerative medicine. They are aimed at repairing tissues damaged by various diseases.
Thirdly, adult stem cells have been identified in a multiplicity of tissues and are currently used in many areas of medicine. The best-known use is hematopoietic cell transplantation, which has been used for decades in the treatment of hematological diseases (leukemia).
Despite the expectations of the scientific community and the media, most other applications of stem cells are experimental.
However, we must resolve multiple obstacles to its implementation. For example, integration into damaged tissues and prolonged survival in these tissues. Further, the proliferation of sufficient numbers of cells to perform this function, and differentiation into desired strains, among others.
Moreover, the repair of myocardial tissue (resulting from coronary artery disease) has become one of the areas of evaluation of stem cell therapy.
An important potential application is the generation of cells and tissues for cell-based therapies, also called tissue engineering.
The current need for transplantable tissues and organs far outweighs the available supply. Stem cells offer the possibility of a renewable source. There is typically a very small number of adult stem cells in each tissue, and once removed from the body, their capacity to divide is limited, making generation of large quantities of adult stem cells for therapies difficult. In contrast, pluripotent stem cells are less limited by starting material and renewal potential.NIH Stem Cell
While there are treatments available that include the injection of stem cells into areas such as the skin. Few have proven effectiveness and have followed all the protocols and clinical trials. There is still much research and evaluation work to continue to develop this area.
One of the current challenges lies in moving from injecting stem cells to producing them from the patient’s own genetic material. By doing this we manage to reduce the risk of immune rejection, which is a possibility that surrounds all transplants.
Therefore, we have to advance in the possibility of generating not only stem cells but also in “recreating the conditions that allow them to fulfill their functions within the human body, to be able to develop tissue substitutes or real organisms that we can then transplant”.
I invite you to read my article Which type of stem cell is best?