Stem Cell Therapy
Stem cell therapy is a type of cell therapy where undifferentiated cells are introduced into unhealthy tissue. The stem cells have the ability to self-renew and possibly give rise to further generations of cells that may repopulate the unhealthy area. The possible benefit of stem cell therapy is the potential to replace unhealthy tissue.
While there are some stem cell therapies that currently exist, the majority of them are still in the experimental stages. Though scientists have had some success in animal models, research in human models is still ongoing. Due to the lack of evidence, stem cell treatments for the spine are not yet FDA approved. At Front Range Center for Brain & Spine Surgery, we make sure to inform our patients that at the moment, there are no treatment standards and no FDA approved stem cell therapies for spinal degenerative disc disease.
The supporting information available that promotes the effectiveness and supposed scientific validation for stem cell research is endorsed solely by stem cell research organizations and providers who monetarily benefit from providing stem cell therapies, clearly a biased resource. The FDA cautions consumers against stem cell scammers and encourages consumers to speak with their doctors to learn about stem cell treatment options. It is important to note that in most cases, the FDA has not reviewed data associated with the stem cell treatments offered in other countries and cannot comment on their safety or effectiveness.
Despite the fact that this treatment is in its earliest stage, stem cell researchers are hopeful that a wide range of diseases and traumatic injuries such as type I diabetes, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, cardiac failure and neurological disorders can be cured by some application of stem cell therapy. The unique regenerative potential of stem cells has created intense research geared specifically towards replacing tissues to treat Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, spinal cord injury, stroke, burns, heart disease and diabetes.
Stem cells and stem cell therapies may hold great promise for the future, but there are a number of steps that need to be taken and standards that must be established before it should be used as a safe, reliable treatment method. Biomedical research typically has a time of 10, 20 or even 30 years - the more research that can be conducted over the next few decades, the better.