Louis A. Cona M.D.
Here we explain what HSCT is and how it differs from the type of therapy DVC Stem offers.
There are many forms of stem cell therapy, but the leading ones today are Autologous and Allogeneic treatments. While both aim at the same results, the methods used to achieve them are very different. With support growing behind each form of treatment in communities surrounding degenerative diseases and autoimmune disorders, it can be difficult to decide which path is best. It is important to know the details behind each option and make the right choice for your specific case. More importantly, it is vital to understand the risks and rewards associated with both.
Stem cells exist in everyone. We have a supply of youthful stem cells when we are born, but they are used for body repair as we age. Additionally, stem cell potency decreases as we age. The stem cells from a patient in their 60s will not act similarly to those from an infant. In autologous treatment, stem cells are extracted from a patient’s own tissue, whether that be fat, bone marrow, or blood. They are then purified and expanded before being reintroduced into the body in a targeted manner to stimulate a healing response.
In a Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant (HSCT), after the stem cells are extracted, the patient is subjected to high doses of chemotherapy or radiation to effectively kill or deactivate the immune system. The removed stem cells, having been unaffected by the chemotherapy, are then reintroduced to the body, helping it to begin producing healthy red and white blood cells once again. Results for HSCT have been positive for autoimmune diseases, such as MS, in which the immune system attacks a patient’s body. The treatment “resets” the immune system, hoping to cease the effects of the disorder. However, many patients are turned off by the use of chemotherapy, and the inherent risks associated with such aggressive treatment. Some patients may be in too poor a condition to even attempt this form of treatment. Although safety has greatly improved with experience, HSCT initially had a 1 in 100 death rate for participants.
Allogeneic therapy similarly seeks to promote healing and repair within the body but in a much less invasive way. In this treatment form, stem cells are collected from outside sources, such as donated umbilical cord tissue. Cord tissue, or “Wharton’s Jelly”, has some of the most powerful, primal stem cells that can be found. As previously mentioned, stem cells at the point of birth are at the peak of their potency, and umbilical cord tissue is often simply discarded after birth, making them widely available. Additionally, there is no immune response to cells sourced from cord tissue, negating the need for a matched donor for each patient.
Stem cells are extracted from the source, then purified and expanded into the millions, before being transplanted into a patient. The patient is prepared for treatment through a variety of methods and given stem cell activation supplements, vice chemotherapy. The principle is to allow the influx of new, healthy stem cells to travel the body through the bloodstream, where they can naturally seek out damage and inflammation to begin the repair process.
The tradeoff with allogeneic transplant is that it is a much less invasive and radical procedure, having little impact on the patient, however, the results are understandably milder than with HSCT. This gives patients an option for effective treatment without the risk of chemotherapy, or who may be in too poor a condition to undergo HSCT. Additionally, the noninvasive nature of the procedure allows for repeat treatment over time without continuous damage being done to the body.
DVC Stem is a stem cell therapy pioneer, offering stem cell therapies for years and has become a cornerstone of the medical tourism industry. Located in the tropical paradise of Grand Cayman in the Western Caribbean, we offer patients a nearby alternative to traveling long distances and to less ideal locations. Our protocols are IRB approved, and our cells come from regulated, U.S. based, FDA compliant laboratories. We seek to offer the highest quality products, the latest available treatments for a variety of conditions, all combined with a world-class setting and service.
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