The Importance of Stem Cells
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Cellular Mediators- Mesenchymal Stem Cells come from 5 sources: Cornea, blood, skin, fat and synovial fluid. Most commonly they are drawn from the bone marrow of the iliac crest (the big elephant ear looking bone in your pelvic girdle). This is quite painful. Cells are drawn and once outside the body is allowed to proliferate increasing numbers into the hundreds of thousands or more. These Mesenchymal Stem Cells are then injected into the injured joint.
Things to know about Stem Cells…
At the present time, there is not enough research to say if Growth Factors are better than Mesenchymal Stem Cells, but Growth Factor is much easier to get, and very low risk so it is probably the best way to go.
It is thought that as Growth Factor becomes more widely used, there will be fewer and fewer corticosteroid injections used for pain.
It is believed at best stem cell therapy can last up to 11 months or well into a year. This is much longer than steroids usually.
Currently, stem cell therapy can not repair an injured joint that needs to be replaced. Stem cells can buy a person’s time, but with not regenerate and totally repair a joint that needs to be replaced.
Stem Cells seem to be most successful with tendinopathies in the shoulder joints, and knee pain. They do work for hips, but hip surgeries where warranted have such a high success rate, it’s probably best to just have the hip replaced-AGAIN IF WARRANTED. Stem Cells do not appear to effective with rotator cuff tears in the shoulder.
One final thing. If a person is considering Stem Cell therapy it is NEVER recommended that the cells come from an embryonic source. This would involve aborting a baby, and embryonic Stem Cells cause tumor growth. So, end a baby’s life to grow tumors makes no sense.
The final type of Stem Cells is Tissue Engineering. This where a cellular matrix of some type is formed and Mesenchymal Stem Cells used to grow organs and tissues outside of the body to be transplanted. Currently, they are able to grow lungs and kidneys in a lab. This procedure has still not be perfected. It is thought that most people under the age of 60 will probably have engineered tissue in their bodies!
So there you go. That’s about all I know about Stem Cells.
If you are considering Stem Cell therapy, please let me know. I might be able to answer your questions or direct you to someone who can. Stem cells seem like they could be beneficial in certain conditions and situations, and you would have to determine if yours is such a case.