Is stem cell therapy a cure?

Louis A. Cona M.D.

Is stem cell therapy able to cure diseases? Here we dive into the subject.

There are new advances in stem cell technology everyday. With that, there is constant press about what researchers are doing with stem cells, and wide claims made about their effectiveness. There have been claims made about their use in orthopaedics, for the treatment of degenerative diseases, and even regrowing tissue and bone. This has led many to believe that stem cells are somewhat of a miracle treatment, or a cure-all to any condition. In reality, stem cells are still being investigated, and although there have been many studies done showing their positive effects on patients, results cannot be guaranteed. In order to make an informed decision on whether to seek stem cell treatment, it is important to understand how they work, and what effect they have on the body.

Are Stem Cells the Magic Answer?

Stem cells are undifferentiated cells. They are essentially blank and have the unique ability to become different types of cells when needed in the body. They were initially found in human embryos, but have now been found in umbilical cord tissue and blood, fat deposits, bone marrow, and even in molar teeth. Everyone is born with a supply of stem cells that are used and age as we grow older. Additionally, these cells lose their effectiveness over time, with stem cells harvested from donated cord tissue being vastly more powerful than those extracted from an elderly patient. Through medical advances and research, physicians have uncovered the ability to attract stem cells, expand them to far greater numbers, and transplant them into patients in need. Additionally, the cells are not rejected by the immune system, making the treatment relatively harmless.

Treatment Results

By transplanting young stem cells into the body, a patient’s overall stem cell count is vastly increased. Through additional methods pre- and post-treatment, these cells can be activated and enhanced. They then travel around the body, seeking inflammation and damaged tissue. Since most disease is largely caused from inflammation in one form or another, the healing properties of stem cells usually decrease symptoms, and can increase the quality of life for patients. For example, MS patients have reported increased mobility and coordination for periods of years after treatment.

However, stem cells are used up over time, and treatments do not last forever. Patients will need repeat treatments over the course of years to keep stem cell numbers in the body high. Additionally, virtually all conditions are treated with the same type and number of mesenchymal stem cells. There aren’t specialized treatments for varying diseases, but rather the treatment is effective on multiple conditions overall. For these reasons, treatment results can vary between patients. The stem cells will be effective in the body, but the amount of inflammation they reduce, and what they heal in the body is completely dependent on the condition of the patient beforehand, their age, fitness level, and severity of the condition being treated. It is impossible to say what the exact results will be, with patients largely relying on anecdotal evidence to seek treatment themselves.

So, Are Stem Cells a Cure?

Yes and no. They are definitively effective and active in the body. Will they rid the body of disease completely? No, but they have the great potential to reduce symptoms to very low levels and increase the quality of life for patients. It is up to the individual to determine if that outcome is worth the cost of this relatively new and cutting-edge therapy of the future.

3 DAYS POST TREATMENT

Tyler explains his experience at DVC Stem in the Cayman Islands.

Tyler is optimistic that he will see positive results post treatment.

"The cool thing about the Cayman Islands besides being beautiful, it was an opportunity to get some rest and relaxation allowing my body to heal and restore. I'm back in the US now and feel like I am ready to conquer the world."

- Tyler Heid

2 WEEKS POST TREATMENT

2 weeks post treatment, MS patient Tyler is beginning to see amazing progress. He has been wheelchair bound for the last year and has not been able to move his legs unassisted before now.

2 MONTHS POST TREATMENT

Tyler updates about his progress, explaining the amazing response he has been receiving from his friends and family.

"People coming up to me saying I am moving, talking and smiling so much better. They are noticing a lot of things that have improved over the course of 3 months."

"This morning I was able to do things that I was unable to do before, I was able to stand up and lift my leg higher than I ever have before."

5 MONTHS POST TREATMENT

5 months post treatment Tyler sends us an update on his progress.

"I'm able to smile better, I have more control over the left side of my face."

"I have an increased ability to grip, lift my legs higher and higher which has gone well."

Tyler is optimistic and on the right track to recovery. We are ecstatic to see his progress and look forward to more updates from him.

"I have an increased ability to grip, lift my legs higher and higher which has gone well."

Tyler Heid - 5 months post treatment

David Lyons

Multiple Sclerosis

Although David Lyons was able to successfully fight Multiple Sclerosis through a strict regimen of diet and exercise, he wanted to ensure he was doing everything he could to stay fit. Multiple Sclerosis can be managed with treatment, but there is currently no cure for the disease. For that reason, David came to DVC Stem years ago to use the regenerative and anti-inflammatory attributes of stem cells to aid in his fight for fitness.

The positive results he experienced enabled David to stay strong in the gym, now into his 60s, and that is why he continues to support our clinic to this day.

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