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The Ethical Misconception of Stem Cells

January 19, 2017 • Knee Pain

The Ethical Misconception of Stem Cells

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When people hear the term “stem cells,” it tends to immediately conjure up images from the news. Stem cell research and technology have been battered by difficult press in recent years, due to a misunderstanding of their source and purpose and the assumption that all stem cells are derived from fetal tissue. Here are some facts to give you an informed idea about what stem cells are and how they are used.

 

What is a Stem Cell?

Stem cells are immature, undifferentiated cells that reside inside bone marrow, adipose (fat) tissue, the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, and other locations. They have the capacity to mature into fully specialized cells of different types in your body. This makes them very important to the healing process and to the regeneration of damaged tissue. All of your red blood cells, along with every type of white blood cell, began life as a stem cell. A smaller amount of stem cells is stored in reserve in the GI tract and the skin, areas of high cell turnover and constant damage.

 

What Do We Use Stem Cells for?

Your body naturally uses stem cells to repair diseased and damaged areas. Nature, however, is not always as efficient as we would like. In medicine, the healing properties of stem cells can be amplified for a variety of therapies. When collected and concentrated, stem cells can be injected into areas where your body has accrued damage. Currently, research has shown great potential for stem cell therapy for the treatment of (but not limited to):

  • Back, neck, and knee or joint pain

  • Neuropathy

  • Neurological diseases

  • Autoimmune disorders

  • Eye-related disorders

 

Where Do Stem Cells Come from?

From an ethical standpoint, this is the most important question of all. At Stem Cell Centers, we DO NOT obtain stem cell lines from embryonic (fetal) tissue. The majority comes from the umbilical cord and amniotic sac donated after healthy live births. The collection of cord blood and amniotic sac for the harvesting of cells and growth factors is done postpartum and does not harm the baby in any way.

Stem cells can be obtained from adult adipose tissue and bone marrow. For these techniques, a needle is inserted into the area of harvest (the love handles for adipose-derived stem cells, and the hip or pelvic bone for bone marrow-derived stem cells) to extract a small amount of these cells. The collection is then processed and concentrated before being reintroduced to the area targeted for therapy.

 

The Facts About the Ethics and Safety of Stem Cell Therapies

The medical world is a heavily regulated industry. Medical clinics offering any kind of therapy are required to follow strict standards and adhere to ethical guidelines set by multiple overseeing authorities.

Your well being and safety are the number one priority. Stem cell ethics and stem cell biology are not new. Stem cells have been used for bone marrow transplant and cancer treatments successfully for decades, and are now seeing new applications for other medical conditions. Stem cell ethics dictate that stem cell therapy is a safe, ethically sound, and perhaps the most exciting arena of modern medicine.

For more information on stem cell therapy or to book an appointment, please call 1-844-ME-AGAIN.

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