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Stem Cell Diseases: What Diseases Can Be Cured with Stem Cells

Stem Cell Diseases: What Can Stem Cells Cure

Today’s market for stem cell therapies is growing at 36% per year and will expand even more when a breakthrough treatment for non-communicable disease or a lifestyle factor occurs. 

Already now, thanks to the long-term work of stem cells researchers, therapy is used to treat more than a hundred serious diseases, such as acute and chronic leukemia, blood and the immune system diseases, as well as it is successfully used to restore the functioning of the hematopoietic system after high-dose chemotherapy. 

The only radical way to cure the diseases mentioned above is hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. In this article, you will find a list of diseases that are successfully treated with stem cell therapy today.

a list of diseases that are successfully treated with stem cell therapy today.

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How can stem cells be used to treat diseases and injuries

Stem cell treatment can be divided into three large sections:

1. Standard treatment

These treatments are used for diseases in which hematopoietic stem cell transplantation is used as a standard, recognized treatment method.

2. Treatment in clinical trials

This is a study that is conducted on human participants to evaluate treatments that are not considered standard.

3. Experimental therapy

This group includes the treatments for diagnoses, that haven’t yet reached clinical trials on human participants. These treatments are still being studied either in a laboratory with cell cultures or through experiments on animals that mimic human diseases. In experimental studies, it is often not clear whether the developed therapy will be autologous or allogeneic.

Stem cell treatment can be divided into three large sections:

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Stem cell transplant options

The essence of stem cell treatment is the extraction and transplantation of cells to the patient’s body. Surgeons use several stem cell transplant options:

  • Allogeneic transplantation – the patient receives healthy stem cells from a compatible donor, it can be sibling (brother or sister), or an unrelated donor.
  • Autologous transplantation – the patient receives stem cells from his own body.

Modern stem cell therapy shows good potential in the treatment of many diseases. Thus, clinics successfully use stem cell therapy to treat genetic diseases, which were previously considered incurable.

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What can stem cells cure: list of diseases 

1. Cardiovascular diseases

Thanks to the use of modern cellular technologies, the bioengineers had achieved successful results in the treatment of the most researched severe cardiac diseases.

Getting with the blood flow to the tissues of the heart, stem cells secrete a large number of biologically active substances that stimulate regenerative processes. And the body gets the opportunity to recover on its own. In addition, Mesenchymal stem cells help to:

  • restore the blood vessels of the heart in the damaged area;
  • normalize blood flow in ischemic organs and tissues;
  • provide pronounced antiatherosclerotic effect;
  • form a new vascular network.

As a result, a patient gets rid of arrhythmias, and sometimes from post-infarction scars.

Cardiosphere-derived progenitor cells are proved to reduce adverse remodeling of the heart, improve the cardiac structure and function after myocardial infarction.

Also, the stem cell treatment is able to potentially repair and regenerate damaged heart tissue. Studies show that the amount of scar tissue of 17 heart attack patients treated with an infusion of stem cells taken from their own hearts, had shrunk by about 50% a year after the procedure.

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2. Neurological disorders

The verdict, which a serious neurodegenerative disease was considered before, has been significantly mitigated today: cell therapy can help to achieve significant improvements in the treatment of cerebral palsy,

Parkinson’s (yes, stem cells, when grafted into patients with PD, can survive long-term in large numbers, release dopamine, make synapses with the host brain, as well as significantly improve PD for years) and Alzheimer’s disease, brain and spinal cord injuries, etc.

Brain and spinal cord injuries, ischemic strokes, and neurodegenerative diseases are accompanied by neuronal death, axon degeneration, impaired communication in neural networks and their functions.

To prevent secondary degeneration and to maintain the growth of nerve fibers, one of the promising approaches is the use of cell technologies, neuron transplantation of embryonic stem cells differentiated in the neural direction of progenitor cells and neural stem cells.

For example, the results of a large study on the treatment of multiple sclerosis show that in almost half of patients with multiple sclerosis after an autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplant, the treatment helped stop the progression process diseases within five years. Recent clinical trials have shown that exogenous stem cells are able to migrate to damaged brain tissue, participating in the process of regeneration, replacing damaged brain cells, while releasing anti-inflammatory factors and growth factors, thereby significantly improving neurological function.

3. Oncological diseases

Today, studies have proved that cancer always occurs amidst the immunodeficiency – that is, the body’s inability to provide an immune response to neutralize a nascent malignant tumor.

This is the basis of cancer immunotherapy: many of these immune preparations (including the ones used for the targeted cell therapy) significantly increase the effectiveness of treatment.

In addition, hematopoietic cells are able to form young and healthy blood elements – red blood cells, platelets, which restore oxygen supply to the tissues, eliminate hypoxia, and normalize blood coagulation.

Stem cells also have the reconstructive function in the treatment of cancer. This feature helps to use very large, shock doses of chemotherapy and radiotherapy to completely destroy the tumor, expecting that the transplanted stem cells will do their job and restore damaged cells of the body.

Benefits of stem cell research cannot be overemphasized: today, stem cell therapy is used to successfully treat:

  • leukemia;
  • non-Hodgkin lymphomas;
  • neuroblastoma;
  • breast cancer;
  • testicular cancer;
  • lung cancer;
  • multiple myeloma.

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Clinical studies also prove the great stem cell potential in the treatment of cancer of other localizations:

  • thyroid cancer;
  • stomach cancer;
  • colon cancer;
  • ovarian cancer;
  • melanoma and other types of tumors.

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The transplantation of hematopoietic stem cells is used to treat leukemia by replenishing the diminished blood cell population. Neural stem cells and human umbilical cord blood-derived mesenchymal stem cells were genetically transformed to treat gliomas. 

4. Dermatological diseases

Today, stem cell preparations open up new possibilities – and by this, we mean not only an effective restoration of the skin after injuries. Bioengineers use stem cells to treat a number of skin diseases such as:

  • psoriasis;
  • dermatitis;
  • eczema;
  • neurodermatitis;
  • diabetic, trophic and other non-healing ulcers and wounds.

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5. Endocrine Disorders

Female infertility: cell therapy helps to normalize the hormonal background, the menstrual cycle and enhance reproductive function.

Menopause: it increases the production of the female hormone estrogen by improving the condition of the ovaries and rejuvenating all internal organs and tissues of the body.

Diseases of the thyroid gland: cell therapy helps to restore the functionality of this organ, so there will be no need for permanent intake of hormonal drugs.

Osteoporosis: the most common complication of normal hormonal imbalance, stem cell treatment will restore bone density and significantly reduce the likelihood of fractures.

Endocrine Disorders

6. Ophthalmology diseases

With the help of stem cell preparations, bioengineers had achieved amazing results in the treatment of the most severe ophthalmological diseases such as:

  • glaucoma;
  • macular degeneration;
  • tapetoretinal abiotrophy;
  • diabetic retinopathy;
  • myopia;
  • tapetoretinal abiotrophy;
  • retinal degeneration;
  • degenerative lesions of the cornea;
  • optic atrophy.

Also, a breakthrough has been achieved in the treatment of eye burns and other eye injuries.

7. Traumatology

Stem cell preparations allow implementing a fundamentally new form of therapy for the treatment of injuries of muscles, joints, and tendons of very different causes. Today, innovative cellular technologies are widely used in sports medicine. They allow growing new bone tissue, giving a unique chance to avoid disability and return to a healthy lifestyle without artificial implants.

With brain and spinal cord injuries, stem cell therapy provides restoration of the functions of the pelvic organs, reduction of motor disorders, and the appearance of sensitivity in a mosaic pattern.

8. Stomatological diseases

In dentistry and maxillofacial surgery, transplantation of Mesenchymal stem cells can be used to restore the integrity of the bones of the craniofacial region or the regeneration of tooth tissues.

Transplantation of stem cells derived from bone marrow provides restoration of damaged bone tissue of the face and jaw, and cells derived from tooth pulp restore damaged dentin.

Mesenchymal stem cells can be transformed into bone tissue cells; this makes it possible to use MSCs to restore bone integrity after removal of a cancerous tumor, destructive bone disease, trauma, or systemic progressive diseases. Studies have proven that restoring bone tissue with the help of MSCs accelerates regeneration and increases bone density compared to natural processes.

9. Orthopedic disorders

Cell therapy makes it possible to regenerate damaged areas of bones, cartilage, ligaments, and tendons with complex fractures, false joints, to stop degenerative changes in joints, treat defects in bone tissue.

Stem cell therapy opens up new possibilities for the treatment of a number of orthopedic diseases and disorders:

  • Back pain: stem cell therapy helps to relieve back pain occurring due to spinal disorders, musculoskeletal system wear, or inflammatory changes.
  • Knee arthrosis: stem cell therapy stops the progression of arthrosis, relieves pain and, in many cases, prevents knee replacement surgery.
  • Hip osteoarthritis: stem cell therapy helps repair damaged cartilage tissue, relieve pain, and in many cases eliminates the need for surgery or joint replacement.
  • Shoulder arthrosis: today’s advanced stem cell therapy stops the progression of the disease, making the joint mobile again, and its movements painless.
  • Osteoarthritis of the joints of the fingers: today, stem cell therapy is the most effective way to reduce inflammation of the joints of the fingers and relieve pain.
  • Acute and chronic tendon injuries and muscle injuries: modern stem cell therapy helps to quickly repair damaged tendons and muscles. Achilles tendon injuries, Patella peak syndrome, tendinosis, adductor pain, rotator cuff injuries, as well as other discomforts in tendons and muscular system are treated. 

Typically, stem cells are injected into the affected tissue, and systemic therapy can be used additionally.

Orthopedic disorders

10. Trichology

Stem cell preparations, made using autologous Mesenchymal stem cells, in combination with the innovative PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) technology have helped to solve the problem of alopecia naturally in the most efficient way, without a traditional hair transplant.

Therapy allows to:

  • treat baldness with the restoration of hair follicles;
  • increase density (by 20-29% within six months);
  • reduce cross-section and fragility;  
  • eliminate dandruff, itching, and dryness;  
  • strengthen hair growth in an absolutely safe way!

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11. Anti-aging therapy

Bioengineering has developed a number of innovative techniques and related (supplementing) technologies that allow for complex correction of involution-dystrophic skin changes in order to rejuvenate, regenerate and improve skin integument. The regenerative potential of these techniques allows not only to rejuvenate the skin but also to correct the appearance defects, that appeared due to injuries.

They are also used in preparation for cosmetic procedures in order to allow patients effectively and quickly recover after plastic surgery.

Anti-aging therapy

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Ethical issues in stem cell research and treatment

One of the important problems of studying the potential of stem cells is ethical.

Ethical issues at different phases of stem cell research raise the following questions :

  • donation of biological materials;
  • research with human embryonic stem cells (destruction of embryos, creation of embryos specifically for research purposes);
  • use of stem cells derived at another medical institution (conflicting legal and ethical standards);
  • stem cell clinical trials (risks and benefits of experimental intervention).

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Can stem cells extend life?

Due to the fact that cell therapy accelerates the regenerative functions of the body, allowing you to restore the functions of aging organs with the help of young supporting stem cells and cure (or stop the progression) of many serious diseases, today we can say with certainty that stem cells can extend our lives!

Is stem cell therapy successful?

Stem cells have great potential in the treatment of many serious diseases. However, currently, still, not all of the types of stem cell treatments are proven to be absolutely effective and even safe.

Today, the most defined and widely used method of stem cell therapy is the transplantation of hematopoietic (or blood) stem cells (for example, bone marrow transplantation to treat certain disorders of the blood and immune system or to restore the blood system after treatment of certain types of cancer).

The transplantation or implantation of tissues to treat specific types of injuries and diseases of bones, skin, and cornea (eyes) has already proved to be highly effective: in this case, the healing process largely depends on the stem cells in the implanted tissue.

Patients are partially responsible for staying safe, and they have to ensure that the stem cell treatment they choose is:

  • FDA-approved;
  • being studied under an IND (Investigational New Drug application), which is a clinical investigation plan submitted and allowed to proceed by the FDA.

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Also, it is important to consider the following nuances:

  • different types of stem cells serve different purposes in the body;
  • there is something to lose when you try an unproven treatment
  • the same stem cell treatment is unlikely to work for different diseases or conditions;
  • cells from your own body are not automatically safe when used in treatments;
  • an experimental treatment offered for sale is not the same as a clinical trial.

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Can stem cells reverse aging?

Aging of the body is a natural process, and, of course, it is not possible to completely reverse it even with the help of stem cells. However, today, stem cell therapy can significantly extend the life span and make it better!

And, since premature aging of the body is often caused by various diseases, stem cell therapy can slow it down, showing great potential in the treatment of these diseases.

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