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A Brief Introduction to Stem Cell Therapy

Updated on February 25, 2015

The cutting-edge cure...for some!

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Now closed over the death of a baby who had stem cells injected into his brain, once Europe's largest Stem Cell Therapy Centerstem cell therapyHarvesting stem cells ffrom a patient's bone marrow for reinjectionshowing versatility of Puripotent stem cells
Now closed over the death of a baby who had stem cells injected into his brain, once Europe's largest Stem Cell Therapy Center
Now closed over the death of a baby who had stem cells injected into his brain, once Europe's largest Stem Cell Therapy Center | Source
stem cell therapy
stem cell therapy | Source
Harvesting stem cells ffrom a patient's bone marrow for reinjection
Harvesting stem cells ffrom a patient's bone marrow for reinjection | Source
showing versatility of Puripotent stem cells
showing versatility of Puripotent stem cells

A Simple Introduction to Stem Cell Treatment

For the uninitiated, even an investigative journalist, wandering into the area of Stem Cell treatment of disease, and the ongoing research, is like a book-worm gnawing his way through Encyclopedia Britannica and getting stuck in the introduction.

This said, I thought there might be some value in a small article summarizing some of what might or might not be a miracle cure of many of our worst ailments.

The first thing I noticed is the Internet is already bursting with clinics offering stem cell treatment. In between, like the fading brakes on a supercar, are erudite articles advising caution. Most of the language in warning articles takes a scientist to really understand, whereas the clinic's blurbs are written in a manner even the least educated sufferer of some horrendous condition can grasp....of course. Same once for nicotine users by history's super psychopaths, Big Tobacco, and now for devotees of the awful "Vaping" (It's for the vapid of couse...we're still breathing in particles from their gummed-up lungs!).

No doubt the cart is well before the horse. There is so little confirmed about the value of this treatment, except there is evidence it has worked to some extent on many patients. More sobering, it may have ended the lives of others.

What are stem cells? Well, they could be called the building blocks of life. Unlike regular cells which plough on through life replicating and serving the same old organs, tissue, marrow and bone, etc., that they are part of, some stem cells can also renew and transfer themselves into other cells in places where they are needed.

There are three main types of stem cells undergoing research and being used in treatment world-wide. The first two, "Embyonic," and "Somatic - or Adult" stem cells regularly divide and replace bone marrow, the gut and bone tissue; some of these are specialized and are only effective under special circumstances in repairing the pancreas and heart, etc.

Since 1996, scientists have been involved with a new type of stem cells, the ""Induced Pluripotent" type.

These are actually the old adult type that have been reprogrammed genetically. They then return to the embryonic state and can be used more widely as the original cells found in an embryo before the cell's duties are rigidly defined.

At least that is the over, over simplified description of what they do.

OK if all goes well, the patient spends a few days in the locality of the clinic receiving daily teatment and the injection of the "miracle" little repair kits.

Stem cells have been touted as a cure-all for many of the ills that besiege man, from paralysis to warts and much in between. Research continues night and day to back these claims and also, sadly, to prevent more from dying from their last hope as it were. This, because there is a "nothing to lose" attitude found amongst those patients who might be on death's door, or so crippled they have no quality life left.

Scientists point out, as do responsible clinics, that they may be a serious downside from their treatment. The cells have been involved in causing tumors, "Teratomas," infection, tissue rejection and catastrophic immune system response.

Also, claims by many patients of success may be tinted by the patient's own natural healing, his enforced regimen, diet and other factors...the so-called "Placebo Effect."

And then there is cost for what is looming as Rich Man's Cure. I couldn't find much online re this: the clinics aren't very revealing.

One such published acounting was by a Ms Yamato of a Tokio University who indicated that one such study and course of treatment would cost a staggering $512, 000...I think she meant dollars. I'm sure this is exceptional...Not much chance of getting that on Britain's NHS who are underwriting less not more expensive procedures all the time.

I want this article to stand as an introduction and mention of the difficulties of this new "miracle" treatment. It may, in time, turn out to be just that...but only if the researchers are given time to complete the necessary studies without being seduced by big money which has the scent of fortunes already tickling its nostrils.

You can find screeds online of the technical aspects of stem cell research and treatment. I am checking myself to see if these busy little cure-alls can be persuaded to cure my high blood pressure, gout and diabetes...and perhaps add an inch or so where they would be welcome somewhere! Yes, I'd love to be 6'2" What ever did you think I meant!? Google'll have my pass for grass!


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    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 2 years ago from UK and Mexico

      I've had better, but improved by your kind visit to my article.


    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 2 years ago from New York

      Thanks for the intro Bob. This miracle cure all is well touted here too, here too insurance companies are paying for less and less so stem cell is certainly not a covered procedure. Where will we all wind up?

      I, too, have not been notified of your hubs so am catching up today. Hope you're having a good one.

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 3 years ago from UK and Mexico

      The convolutions of the Internet, Shyron; it's sometimes like leaping into a mental barbed-wire fence!

      Nice to hear from ya


    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 3 years ago from Texas

      Hi I just looked up my name on google and guess one place list a dating site and one of your hubs in listed there and it does not take you to HP

      the site is

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 3 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Hi Mike: Just scratched the surface of this amazing situation. The Internet seems to make each individual's input so diluted as to hardly be worth doing. The exception is the truly innovative and in-depth treatment of a subject, then it's too complicated or boring to read!

      Thanks for kind words Mike Bob

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 3 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Hi 'Lady: Yes, our ships in the night are turning out to be speed boats. Thanks for visit and comments. I will check why I'm not getting notification of your hubs now.

      Bob x

    • profile image

      Old Poolman 3 years ago

      Bob, as one who hates to even take an aspirin for a headache, I doubt I would ever voluntarily allow someone to inject me with stem cells. Perhaps one day they will perfect this to the degree that we will all live to be well over 100. But if they do, our government would just raise the retirement age to 95 so not much would be gained.

      Very well researched and presented as always.


    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 3 years ago from West By God

      Uh huh! Coool, more GMO as I read through your hub. People just do not realize what we are doing and where we are going with all of this. I am so glad that you posted this! I am sharing it because people need to see the good in the world.

      It has been a while since we have crossed paths. I do hope it will be more frequent.

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 3 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Hi stranger: No, for some reason I don't get your hubs now (by "get" I mean receive...I usually understand them!).

      Been funny weather all round again this winter...earthquake in Spain yesterday; one in Nipponland today.

      Trouble is, even when the good weather comes, time goes so fast now, it won't stay long enough for us to appreciate it.

      Bob x

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 3 years ago from North Texas

      $512,000 is nothing here in the U.S. for an innovative and amazing cure. Far more ordinary things cost only half as much. Isn't it amazing how so many different things, especially the ones we don't yet understand, can cure everything from brain tumors and heart disease, baldness and blindness, to club foot and hangnails? If only all the claims for all of these many cure-alls were true, there would be no more disease or defect, physical or mental. Yes, apple cider vinegar and cinnamon should have cured everything by now leaving no need for stem cell research or treatments.

      Either apple cider vinegar or cinnamon should have cured your HBP. Haven't you heard about it? I've written about both, check them out.

      Hope all is well with you Bobby. We're finishing up a little ice storm here. Snowed this morning, sleet and ice from Sunday afternoon till last night when the rain started and turned to snow this morning. Hopefully winter will be on it's way out now that it's done it's worst.

      Going to share this so it will catch a few eyes. Take care . . .