Understanding the basics of stem cell therapy (First Part)-A A +A
Health In Focus
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
HUMAN nature has it that when there is something new, be it related to food, enhancements to one’s appearance, and even in one’s search for answers and treatments to an illness, one may be most willing to brave and enter that unknown territory.
I had the privilege of meeting a very remarkable woman, diagnosed with the Big C of the liver, who, in her desire to prolong her days, agreed to go through stem cell therapy.
In the course of our conversation, I realized that, patients must be given the correct information, and should be armed with the necessary knowledge of the treatment modalities, including success and failure rates, complications, cost and expectations.
This applies not only to what is new, but, even in the most tested of treatment options, patients have the right to know and understand.
Stem cell therapy is one breakthrough in Medical Science. It shows a lot of promise and potential in treating diseases. Stem cell therapy is an intervention strategy where new adult stem cells are introduced into damaged or diseased tissues, in order to treat the disease or injury.
These cells are present during the early stages of life and have the remarkable potential to develop into many different types of cells, and in many tissues, they serve as an internal repair system: they divide to replace and replenish cells that have been diseased.
Research directed to the benefits and usefulness of stem cells, when introduced to a given person with a given injury or illness like the Big C, Diabetes, baldness, leukemia, to name a few, has given rise to clinics and centers offering such services. There are just a few facts that I would like to touch before we get too excited to try it out:
Our body use different types of tissue-specific stem cells to fit a particular purpose. The bone marrow for example has the capacity to regenerate the blood cells.
Stem cells directed to the brain or the pancreas or liver or any organ for that matter must be specific to that organ in order for it to become effective. It is very unlikely then to think that one needs JUST A SINGLE CELL TYPE to treat a multitude of unrelated diseases that involve different tissues or organs.
Once we understand this basic principle of how the stem cells work in the body, we are freed from the incorrect idea that stem cell therapy is a CURE ALL treatment modality.
Patient testimonials are a good source of getting information.
Up to a certain point ONLY and is not really a reliable standard for a patient to try it out on himself/herself.
It is important at this stage to understand that there is such a thing in medicine as a “PLACEBO EFFECT.”
There are certain types of procedures or drugs that when administered to the patient, he/she will feel better.
Where before a patient may feel pain on movement, when given the medicine, he/she my feel that there is little or no more pain. Appetite and outlook becomes positive.
Testimonials then must be viewed in an objective manner and is best analyzed with an open discussion with the attending physician. To be continued…
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on August 21, 2013.