Research on the Effectiveness of Stem Cells for Regenerative Medicine 

The Capabilities of Stem Cells

Stem cells are undifferentiated cells (not changed) that have the capacity to change into any specific cell type in the body. These cells once deployed to an area of injury/disease can readily change into the cell type that is needed to be replaced. Moreover, stem cells home to sites of injury by cell signals that recruit them to sites of injuries. Once they reach where they need to go, they dock and commence repairing the injury/disease by releasing cytokines, chemokines, and growth factors that aid in host endogenous repair.
There are greater than 200,000 peer reviewed scientific publications on pubmed.
 
With thousands discussing positive outcomes following the use of stem cells. From stem cell therapies for heart disease to osteoarthritis to diabetes to name a few. Below is a brief discussion of some of the positive outcomes with the use of stem cells.

Immunomodulation and Immunosuppression 

A number of studies have demonstrated the regenerative medicine and immunomodulatory properties of umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stem cells (UC-MSCs). 
These peer-reviewed scientific articles all demonstrate the amazing benefits of using stem cells derived from umbilical cord. Most importantly, they illustrate that these umbilical cord MSCs have immunosuppressors and immunomodulatory properties that allow their use in any individual without rejection since the cells do not express HLA-DR. Of note, cells stem cells derived from umbilical cord tissue (particularly those derived from Wharton’s jelly) have better immunomodulatory properties than with bone marrow or fat derived stem cells.

Stem Cells and Osteoarthritis 

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are known to have the potential to regenerate articular cartilage. Studies have shown that intra-articular injection of stem cells provided improved knee function and less pain with no adverse events.
Researchers have noticed improvements to both joint function and disease modification with MSC treatment. MSCs can be combined with platelet lysates or hyaluronic acid, as in some of the studies below.

MSCs to Treat Diabetes Complications

In one study, intramuscular MSC injection significantly improved the ulcer healing rate for type 2 diabetic patients with critical limb ischemia (CLI) and foot ulcers.

MSCs have also been used to help the body generate more insulin-producing cells, to counteract autoimmunity, and to prevent rejection of allogeneic islet grafts.

Fighting Infection: MSCs May Enhance Antibiotic Sensitivities

Research suggests that MSCs secrete bioactive molecules which act as antimicrobial agents against e-coli and Gram-positive bacteria.

Additionally, research on the use of MSCs to treat cystic fibrosis infections demonstrates that “(1) soluble products generated by hMSCs significantly decrease Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus, and Streptococcus pneumoniae CFUs as well as having an impact on the growth rate of these pathogens; (2) the antimicrobial effectiveness of the hMSCs supernatants can enhance the effectiveness of antibiotics used to treat these types of infections.” The results of this study show that MSCs could to enhance antibiotic sensitivity, improving a cell’s capacity to kill bacteria and slow bacterial growth.  

Stem Cells in the Treatment of Parkinson’s Disease

In a recent trial, bone-marrow MSCs (mesenchymal stem cells) were administered to Parkinson’s patients to differentiate into dopamine secretory cells. Almost half of the participants showed steady improvement over 10-36 months. 

Research on Stem Cells and Heart Disease

Stem cells have shown most promise in heart disease as stem cell treatment could actually rebuild and replace damaged heart muscle tissue.  Scientists have been able to culture mesenchymal stem cells to differentiate into cells resembling cardiacmyocytes (the tissues lost when cardiac tissues are deprived of oxygen).

In a 2012 study on treatments for ischemic cardiomyopathy (ICM), patients who received stem cell therapy were observed to have increased functional capacity and improved quality of life. 
 

Medical Professional Viewing Only (Disclaimer)


This site was intended for education purposes only and strictly for use by medical professionals. The FDA recently re-confirmed, there is only one registered stem cell product, and while there is enormous promise in stem cell therapies, and thousands of ongoing experimental applications trying to establish efficacy, these are not at the point where they would meet the scientific standard.

The FDA has stated:

Stem cells, like other medical products that are intended to treat, cure or prevent disease, generally require FDA approval before they can be marketed. FDA has not approved any stem cell-based products for use, other than cord blood-derived hematopoietic progenitor cells (blood forming stem cells) for certain indications.

http://www.fda.gov/AboutFDA/Transparency/Basics/ucm194655.htm

This site is not intended for consumers.

If you are considering stem cell treatment in the U.S., ask your physician if the necessary FDA approval has been obtained or if you will be part of an FDA-regulated clinical study. This also applies if the stem cells are your own. Even if the cells are yours, there are safety risks, including risks introduced when the cells are manipulated after removal.

“There is a potential safety risk when you put cells in an area where they are not performing the same biological function as they were when in their original location in the body.” Cells in a different environment may multiply, form tumors, or may leave the site you put them in and migrate somewhere else.

If you are considering having stem cell treatment in another country, learn all you can about regulations covering the products in that country. Exercise caution before undergoing treatment with a stem cell-based product in a country that—unlike the U.S.—may not require clinical studies designed to demonstrate that the product is safe and effective. FDA does not regulate stem cell treatments used solely in countries other than the United States and typically has little information about foreign establishments or their stem cell products.

http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm286155.htm

Stem cell therapies have enormous promise, but the science in each use is still in the developmental stage.  Professional judgment and expertise is needed in using stem cells for any therapeutic use, and we urge anyone embarking on the use of stem cell therapies to consult the national health data bases to evaluate current information from clinical trials and the FDA websites on human tissue should also be consulted to get its current evaluation of any therapy.