Is stem cell therapy a promising treatment or a medical fraud to make money from your desperation?
There are so many frauds that have been recorded on stem cells. However, there are so many patients who have also got a new and better life due to stem cell therapy.
Before we deep dive into this question let’s go through some positive facts.
Stem cell therapy in India has shown several promising outcomes for many of the serious illnesses that are currently unresponsive to standard treatments. This is viable because of the incredible and special characteristics of stem cells. We understand the helplessness and stress that families go through after being diagnosed with a serious disease where conventional medical sciences have no treatment or very slow outcomes.
As an example, the brain damage conditions such as Autism, Cerebral palsy, ADHD where parents have to undergo the pains of waiting decades, that too with very mild hope, are now able to see their kids moving towards normalcy, recognizing their parents – calling them Mom and Dad, socializing with other kids, able to do daily chores on of their own, shifting from special schools to normal school.
Let us see one more example, the degenerative conditions like Dementia, Parkinson’s disease where you see your parents suffering and you are not able to do anything besides observing the progressive deterioration, now you can see them walking and playing with your kids.
Similarly, stem cell therapies can solve many problems like serious spine injuries where patients have to be only on the bed, stroke, Chronic Kidney dysfunction, Arthritis, muscular dystrophy Delayed milestone, Mental retardation, motor neuron disease, TBI – Traumatic brain injury, etc.
But before going into details that let us understand what the stem cell is.
Stem cells are the body’s basic building block. These are the cells from which all other cells with specialized functions such as blood cells, brain cells, heart muscle cells or bone cells, skin cells, etc are generated.
The formation of the human body starts when a woman conceives. The first stem cell is formed after the fusion of male sperm and female egg which is called a Zygote.
The journey of life starts with this single-cell Zygote and this stem cell creates more stem cells and the newly created stem cells keep on multiplying and after some time these stem cells start converting into specialized stem cells. That’s how, in this nine-month journey, a human body is formed.
Again these are the stem cells that keep multiplying both in stem cell form and in a specialized form that grows the body from an infant to adult.
The interesting part is that under the right environment, stem cells multiply to form more cells called daughter cells and this environment can be in the body or in a laboratory. These daughter cells either become new stem cells or become specialized cells with a more specific function, such as blood cells, brain cells, heart muscle cells, bone cells, etc.
Types of stem cells
We discussed in the last section that stem cells can be multiplied either in stem cells or in specialized cells. On the basis of this capability, we can differentiate into the following five types.
These are the cells which are having the capability to multiply in any form of stem cells. Totipotent is derived from Total potential. These cells can create further stem cells and specialized cells. These cells are generated up to 4 weeks of embryo formation.
These are the cells which are having the capability to form most of the 220 differentiated adult cell types. The name is derived from Plural potential. These cells are found in abundance from the Sixth-week embryo onwards.
These are the cells that have the capability to form only multiple adult cell types.
The next type of stem cells, oligopotent cells, are similar to the prior category (multipotent stem cells), but they become further restricted in their capacity to multiply in specialized cells.
While these cells can self-renew and differentiate, they can only do so to a limited extent. They can only do so into closely related cell types.
An excellent example of this cell type is the hematopoietic stem cell (HSC).
HSCs are cells derived from mesoderm (mesoderm is one of the three primary germ layers in the very early embryo) that can differentiate into other blood cells. Specifically, HSCs are oligopotent stem cells that can differentiate into both myeloid and lymphoid cells ( related with bone marrow and Lymph nodes).
Finally, we have the unipotent stem cells, which are the least potent and most limited type of stem cell.
An example of this stem cell type is muscle stem cells.
While muscle stem cells can self-renew and can differentiate only into a single cell type.
Embryonic stem cells
Embryonic Stem cells are received from Embryo. These stem cells can be collected from embryos which are created through Vitro fertilization (commonly known as IVF). Further, these stem cells can also be received from aborted embryos.
Adult stem cells
Adult Stem cells are received from the umbilical cord, Baby teeth, and limited tissues such as bone marrow, muscle & adipose tissue (body fat), brain, dental pulp, etc.
Stem cells therapy is the transplantation of stem cells extracted from your own bone marrow and adipose tissue (body fat). Stem cells have the biological task of repairing and regenerating damaged cells.
Stem cell therapy takes advantage of this function by processing these extracted stem cells in the specialized stem cells laboratory and then administering them in high concentration into the damaged tissue, where they promote healing and development. Stem cell therapy minimizes symptoms, avoids future complications, and maximizes function independence.
A growing number of successful stem cell treatments have emerged over the past few years with increased research and development activities.
Stem cells can be obtained from a variety of sources and used to treat more than 80 disorders such as leukemia, thalassemia, aplastic anemia, sickle cell anemia, and MDS, and with the potential to treat neuromuscular disorders, degenerative disorders, and genetic disorders such as autism, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, down syndrome, etc.
What condition and disease does stem cells treat?
By virtue of the capabilities of Stem Cells and being very close to how the body forms, Stem therapy is able to give results where the conventional medical sciences are hitting their limitations.
When the patients are losing all hope, Stem cell therapies are extending both the life and quality of life.
Another reason for the popularity of autologous(your own stem cells) stem cell therapies is that your own adult stem cell is extracted and reinjected in the affected area after multiplying and processing it in the laboratory. Since these are your own stem cells, the risk of rejections and any other complication is less. It’s like treating the ailment with your own building blocks.
There is another very important aspect that you should never miss before concluding your plan of action.
Although there are so many patients who have benefited from stem cell therapy, still, there are so many patients who are not able to see the results which they were expecting from the treatment. Moreover, there are also the patients who observed the positive results in the beginning but with time those results faded away and the situation is back to square one.
The main reason behind this inconsistency of results is that this stem cell therapy has not been established as a standard protocol-based treatment. The doctors who are practicing it are evolving their own protocols. And hence, the results of different practitioners of stem cell therapy are different. Further, you can’t assume that if one practitioner is able to deliver results for one ailment or condition with his protocol will also be able to give similar results in other conditions.
The cost of stem cell therapy in India is comparatively lesser and much more affordable than what it would cost in the western world, apart from having absolutely no waiting time for the treatment.
The cost of stem cell therapy in India starts from 2000 USD for one cycle and depends on the number of cycles, patient’s condition, treating doctor and the protocol followed. The patient will have to stay in India for about 10-30 days to undergo stem cell therapy. In certain cases, depending on the suggested treatment, the patient may have to extend the stay for about 45 days
In this video, Dr Anant Bagul, a renowned stem cell expert talks about stem cell therapy and how it is effectively treating serious neurological disorders like autism, cerebral palsy, etc.
Dr Anant Bagul is from Universal Hospital and is specialized in treating autism, cerebral palsy and spinal cord injury by employing the use of stem cell therapy.
Success rate of stem cell therapy in India
Some of the best stem cell therapy hospitals in India are accessible with the latest innovation supported by state-of-the-art machinery that plays a crucial part in delivering high-quality stem cell treatment in India. There is an overall success rate of 60 to 80 percent in the use of stem cell therapy in India. Success rates vary, however, depending on the disease being treated, the specialist performing the procedures, and the patient’s condition.
Frequently Asked Questions and patient concerns:
1. How many numbers of stem cell cycles are needed to treat?
There is no thumb rule on the number of cycles. The number of cycles for you depends upon the conditions of the patient, the number of stem cells given in a cycle, disease severity, age, and a combination of other therapies such as oxygen and ozone therapies.
2. Is there a possibility to use the stem cells of someone else ?
Theoretically yes, embryonic stem cells are typically extracted from the discarded embryos during the IVF process.
However, the practitioner’s first choice is always to use your own adult mesenchymal stem cells or autologous stem cells.
3. How will I benefit from stem cell therapy?
Stem cell therapy helps you to heal, regenerate and repair tissues that are damaged or wounded. It reduces your pain, inflammation, and increases efficiency and function.
4. What could be the side effects of stem cell therapy?
Usually, the side effects are negligible. Infection is a rare chance. You may experience mild pain, soreness, or discomfort at the site of the extraction of the cells.
5. Is my body going to refuse stem cell therapy?
If the stem cells come from your own body, the stem cells will not be rejected by your body. However, with an Allogenic ( Others stem cell) stem cell transplant, complications such as Graft versus Host Disease (GVHD) could occur where the stem cells consider the body of the patient to be alien and begin attacking the body.
6. How long is recovery going to take?
You can expect visible improvements within 3 weeks of the treatment. However, there will be a continuous improvement in your body thereafter.
7. When can I bounce back into my daily routine?
You can slowly get back to the usual life the next day after the completion of therapy.
MedicoExperts is a Global virtual hospital which is established to offer quality healthcare services at affordable pricing without compromising the success rates of the treatment. MedicoExperts is having a network of highly experienced super specialist doctors and well equipped hospitals across the globe and offering second opinion through online video consultation and surgical interventions through its empanelled super specialist doctors at its network hospitals in 17 countries from 3 continents.
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Most suitable for patients who are looking for:-
- Planned Surgeries and treatment from most experienced doctors and at multiple cost options as per hospital facilities with best possible outcomes.
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