Monday, August 28, 2017
Info on stem cells and stem cell clinics
Stem cells are naturally occurring cells in the body. The can develop into nearly any type of cell. According to studies, stem cells work by secreting growth factors(hormonal steroids or proteins) that nurse ailing cells. This prevents the cells from dying. Also, stem cells stimulate the formation of blood vessels that nourish damaged tissue with nutrients and oxygen. New cells may even be formed by stem cells. This means potentially augment the body's natural repair mechanisms by replacing damaged or dead cells throughout the body. Using stem cells developed in labs, the past couple of years have brought notable successes for more complex disorders, such as, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, stroke and some forms of blindness. This research has proceeded slowly. It could be a decade or more before such procedures become a standard practice. The Food and Drug Administration has only approved stem cells for these treatments: blood and immune disorders, cancer and skin grafts for burns. Currently, there are more than two dozen trials of stem cell therapies. These trials are meant to test the effectiveness of such therapies in treating some of the ailments that plaque many as they get older. Ailments include macular degeneration, diabetes, heart failure, stroke and cancer. In the U.S., there are nearly 600 clinics offering stem cell treatment. These clinics promise relief from ailments including those outside of the FDA's approved list. Some of these ailments are spinal cord injury, stroke, Parkinson's disease, ALS and Alzheimer's. Stem cell clinics tend to market directly to consumers. Hundreds of them offer pricey injections to treat a wide range of ailments. Their procedures are not typically covered by insurance. Not only are they outside of insurer, but also FDA oversight. The clinics use a regulatory loophole to perform injection therapies for uses that are not yet approved by the FDA. The clinics operate in a gray area of the law. These procedures are exempt from federal oversight as long as the patient's own stem cells are used. Also, if these cells are only subjected to "minimal manipulation". Their usage is not considered a drug, but a medical procedure. These therapies cost $5,000 to $20,000 per treatment. The clinics, as well as, many satisfied patients claim stem cell treatments as the next great advance in medicine. Critics claim that the current marketplace is based on unproven science. The FDA is deciding whether it needs to intervene because of the safety violations at some clinics. There have been such tragedies as blindness and unusual bone growths. There have been even 2 deaths reported.