Stem Cells: The Past, The Present or The Future?

Medicine is an ever-evolving field. New breakthroughs are being made all the time and many discoveries in medicine have changed the way of human living.

If you’ve ever visited a museum of naval history, you have definitely seen a display that shows how they used to do surgical procedures on board ships in the 1800s. Amputations were done on a table, with the injured man biting on a piece of wood to stop from screaming. Luckily, the late 19th century saw the discovery of anesthesia, which numbs all sensation in the patient. Some early anesthetics were cocaine and chloroform, but these two had potentially lethal side effects. Fortunately, today’s anesthetics are both effective and safe.

When we talk about Stem Cells many people think of it as The Medicine of the Future and it definitely has opened a new world of treatment options and it might change the way we know medicine today. But, there is something that seems to be misunderstood; Stem Cells are not just a medicine of the future, but a novel treatment available today.

History of Stem Cells Research began in 1968; when the first bone marrow transplant was performed to successfully treat two siblings with severe combined immunodeficiency. In 1978, stem cells were discovered in human cord blood. In 1981, the first in vitro stem cell line developed from mice. In 1988, embryonic stem cell lines were created from a hamster…and there are a great number of discoveries made about stem cells during the next years, which means Stem Cells are not actually a brand new discovery as many people think.

In 2006 something very important happened, a Japanese researcher named Yamanaka collected genes that might cause specialized cells to become ‘pluripotent’—cells able to make multiple cell types—. He put those genes into a non-pluripotent, mature fetal cell and to everyone’s amazement they converted that cell into a pluripotent cell.
These ‘induced pluripotent stem cells’ (iPSCs) are so important because it means, for example, if a patient has a defective liver, healthy cells could be taken from the patient, reprogrammed into iPS cells, which could then be used to help regenerate the person’s failing organ. Taking cells from the same patient may greatly reduce the chance of the body rejecting the new treatment and it also means that embryonic or fetal manipulation is not needed.

In a interview published by The Medscape on Tuesday January 10, 2017-Dr Cowan (Harvard’s professor, stem cell researcher) was asked the next question: When we talk about IPSCs, are we talking about being able to differentiate to any cell? Dr. Cowan´s answer was: In theory, that is the exact definition of pluripotency—that they can make every cell in the adult human body. That’s easy to say, but it’s very difficult to do in practice. When we first started doing this, there were two examples of cells that people could reliably make. The spectrum of those cells has grown enormously so that now, reliably, people can make many of the cells that you might be interested in. We have focused on those that are involved in metabolic disorders. We can make insulin-producing beta cells, liver cells, fat cells, endothelial cells, and vascular smooth muscle cells.

Stem cells treatments are happening right now, but yet these numbers, and the lifesaving results from stem cells for dozens of conditions, are unknown to most.

Stem cells are currently being used in several thousand FDA-approved clinical trials, over 1.5 million people have been treated to date. There are almost 3,500 ongoing or completed clinical trials using adult stem cells, listed in the NIH/FDA-approved database. Moreover, large numbers of patients have been treated with adult stem cells; almost 20 thousand patients were treated just in the United States in 2014. It’s been documented that as of December 2012, there had already been over 1 million adult stem cells transplants. This means that now, over 1.5 million patients have had their lives changed and improved by adult stem cell transplants.

Stem Cells Transplant Institute in Costa Rica offers up-to-date technologies and highly qualified health professionals for you to get into these novel treatments. Don´t hesitate to ask any question you have about Stem Cells treatment, it is not true you have to wait years to get the benefits of Stem Cells. Dr. Leslie Mesén an expert in stem cells treatment in Costa Rica will be more than happy to help you. The hope of adult stem cells is being realized right now, for thousands of people around the globe. Those stories, those doctors, those patients who have been helped by adult stem cell treatments, deserve to be heard. The stories of many patients are not theoretical; it’s real adult stem cell science.

In conclusion, Stem Cells have been widely studied in the past, Stem Cells treatments are available in the present and it can definitely change your future. Get informed.