What does the future hold? Are advances moving slowly?
Regenerative medicine consists of the use of stem cells to fix structures in the body that do not function properly due to an injury or disease.
What sets regenerative medicine apart from traditional medicine is stem cells treatments aims to treat the root cause of a patient’s condition instead of just treating the symptoms.
Many breakthroughs have been reported in scientific journals and the media over the years. The Stem Cells Transplant Institute wants our patients to be well informed about current stem cell research.
Today’s question is: What´s going on with regenerative medicine? Are expectations being reached? As research grows and medicine advances, the questions about stem cells grow. What is the truth about the breakthroughs in stem cell research?
Let’s take a look at the therapies that have been widely used so far:
The earliest form of cell therapy was the transfusion of blood, which today, is commonplace in most clinical settings.
Next on the list was the transplantation of bone marrow. This therapy allows stem cells obtained from a donor to make new, healthy blood cells in patients with damaged blood cells from radiation or blood cancers.
Cell therapy using a patient’s own cells is also used in cases of injuries from severe burns. Skin cells are isolated from a small biopsy and expanded by specialized procedures to be transplanted onto the burn wound to speed up healing.
Stem cells could greatly improve the health-related quality of life of many patients with chronic diseases like diabetes, Parkinson´s disease, Alzheimer´s disease, rheumatoid arthritis and many other inflammatory diseases. So…if stem cells are so amazing…why is their use not widely available?
According to the authors of the report published in The Lancet:
“Cell therapy has produced clinically extraordinary results, having saved hundreds of thousands of lives […] However, many cell therapies have had limited, variable, or transient efficacy.”
There are many barriers that need to be addressed before stem cells are introduced as a common treatment. First, health authorities such as the FDA, a governing body that grants approval for a new therapy, must be satisfied that a new treatment is safe and effective. Clinical trials take a long time even when results are positive. Many stem cell therapies are in the final step but clinical trials must be concluded before stem cell treatments receive FDA approval. Second, regenerative medicine treatments tend to be very expensive because of the need of special production facilities and highly skilled staff. With health budgets limited in many countries, high costs are a barrier to making this therapy a reality. Scientist are thinking of ways that regenerative medicine products can be made more affordable and cost-effective. Sometimes it is just a matter of where you decide to receive treatment. In the US for example, stem cell therapy costs twice as much as treatments offered in Costa Rica. The Stem Cells Transplant Institute offers high quality therapies at a much lower price than many other countries.
The facts that we just mentioned, often lead to a conflict between public expectation and the speed at which new treatments can be developed.
What does the future hold?
Regenerative medicine has a track record of success. Prof. Cossu, from the Division of Cell and Matrix Biology & Regenerative Medicine at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, –highlighted to Medical News Today, the huge potential that regenerative medicine has. He said, “From the first blood transfusion to bone marrow transplantation, cloning, development of viral vectors, Embryonic stem cells and, more recently, iPS (induced pluripotent stem cells), genome editing and organoids hold great promise for the future.”
The Stem Cells Transplant Institute in Costa Rica, provides only treatments that have been approved by the Costa Rican government based on data showing positive results and great promise for the eventual approval by the FDA. The treatments we offer are currently under investigation in the US but have not yet reached the stage of FDA approval. We are not “experimenting” with completely new procedures. The Stem Cells Transplant Institute uses only the most advanced techniques and protocols that have been shown to be safe and effective. We encourage our patients to make informed decisions regarding stem cell treatments. Contact us today and let us answer all of your questions.