At our stem cell center in Charlotte, we use the most up-and-coming technologies to provide people with the pain relief they deserve. Stem Cell Carolina is always learning about the latest research and technology with regenerative medicine. In today’s blog, we thought it’s only fair to share some of this information with you.
As we get older, our bodies begin to deteriorate in a variety of ways. This is an unfortunate realization, even though it’s widely accepted as being a part of life — but is this always going to be the case?
The jury’s not out quite yet, but we do know that certain degenerative diseases are starting to be accurately targeted by stem cell treatments. Macular degeneration, for example, affects millions of Americans every year by compromising their vision. In age-related macular degeneration, the “seeing cells” are intact, but the retinal pigmented epithelial cells (RPE cells) are damaged. These cells feed and clear away waste of the highly active retina cells.
Stem cells can be used to develop into these RPE cells, which can target those in our eyes that aren’t working as well as they should be. There are still some risks in the early stages of this procedure — not because of the stem cells themselves, but the implantation process. In early trials, many patients with macular degeneration ended up with better vision and no side effects.
Parkinson’s disease affects 1 percent of adults over the age of 60 and happens when dopamine-transmitting neurons in the brain begin to die. It’s a frustrating and truly horrible disease, but stem cells show some initial promise in helping to slow Parkinson’s disease and improve the negative effects associated with it.
Right now, a group of scientists and researchers around the world are collaborating together to use stem cells in a variety of approaches to target better therapy options.
A number of rare skin disorders have begun to be targeted with stem cell treatments. Epidermolysis Bullosa is one such example. A genetic disorder that causes the skin to tear “as easily as a butterfly’s wing,” scientists have been successful in using stem cells as a form of skin graft to treat this disease. This treatment made headlines as it saved a boy from Syria, and within six months of receiving this treatment, the boy was back at school.
When caused by spinal cord injuries, researchers believe stem cells could be used to treat (and even reverse) paralysis. This form of regenerative medicine is still in the early stages, but a few people have reported improvements in their motor function after being injected with stem cells. Again, the types of stem cells that are addressed with this treatment are specific to the spinal cord, so people who are paralyzed for various other reasons likely wouldn’t experience the same results.
Very small kidney-like structures have already been constructed in a lab with the help of stem cells.
The idea with this type of stem cell treatment is that people could avoid having to wait on a transplant list for a new kidney — a process that often takes years. If people suffering from kidney disease could instead have a new organ grown, this would promote a faster turnaround time for healthier living. Instead of waiting for a donated kidney, patients would simply have a new one grown for them.
On another interesting note, the research conducted so far with kidney disease and stem cells has taught us a lot about how kidneys work. It’s also possible that hereditary forms of kidney disease could be targeted using stem cells.
We don’t really know a lot about how stem cells could help cure HIV, but the earliest forms of evidence are nothing short of stunning.
As of November 2018, only one person is known ever to be completely cured of HIV. This was a man (known in the medical community as “the Berlin patient”) who received stem cell transplants from the same donor back in the mid-2000s. He received these transplants because, on top of having HIV, he had been diagnosed with leukemia. After his stem cell transplants, his HIV simply went away.
This led researchers to try the same treatment for patients in similar situations, or people who were HIV-positive and also had a hematologic disease (like leukemia). As a study concluded, “After undergoing stem-cell transplants, 5 of the 6 patients had undetectable viral reservoirs. One of them no longer had any HIV antibodies in his blood.”
Considering HIV has widely been known as an incurable disease, one which can only be treated and managed, the developments in stem cell usage with HIV are proving to be radical.
Nearly a third of all elderly men are affected by male hypogonadism, a condition in which the body produces a very low amount of testosterone. In addition to mood changes and lowered libido, muscle and bone strength levels can both decrease substantially. The current method of treatment is providing hormone replacement therapy, but this can have some serious side effects (including deep vein thrombosis).
More recently, labs have been trying to recreate a specific type of cell that lives in the testicles, then directly reprogramming them to help testosterone levels get back on track. So far, mouse skin cells have been turned into these types of testicular cells, and when tested with mice, the results have been overwhelmingly positive.
Some of the hormonal changes that adults face in older age could all be addressed with the help of stem cell centers around the world. The research is showing promising and positive changes for those dealing with hormonal imbalances.
At Stem Cell Carolina, we are at the forefront of these incredible medical developments. Our stem cell center is here to provide you with the many treatment options that you may need. By getting in touch with our Charlotte treatment center, you could find out if you’re a good candidate for stem cell therapy.