Stem cell therapy (STC) has come a long way ever since it’s conception over a century ago by Alexander Maximow. However, because of the ongoing research and continuously evolving scientific theories regarding STC treatment, people still have some confusion about this form of treatment.
Here are three STC therapy myths, debunked.
1. Stem Cells Are Only Harvested From Embryos
While stem cells have been associated with embryonic stem cells, the fact of the matter is it is just one type of stem cells studied in medicine. The use of embryonic stem cells is a controversial topic, but definitely not the only one concerning STC therapy by and large.
As a matter of fact, adult stem cellsare more commonly used in STC therapy. These are harvested from the postnatal body reservoirs such as the bone marrow, blood plasma, and adipose tissue. Just like embryonic stem cells, these too have the ability to differentiate into other types of cells within the body and may be used for repairing soft tissue damage and healing tendon injuries. These cells are taken from the patient’s own body to trigger a natural healing response.
2. Stem Cell Therapy Is Illegal
One common misconception regarding the authenticity of stem cell treatment is based on the assumption that the procedure is illegal. However, according to Health Canada, adult stem cell therapy isn’t considered to be a drug that would require Canadian FDA regulations and approval.
Since the stem cells are merely drawn from the patient’s own body and then injected at the relevant site without being modified in any way, they don’t pose any threats like separately cultured stem cells do. While the latter are subject to reregulation, the autologous components used in traditional stem cell therapy are completely in compliance with current laws and are safe—and legal—to use.
3. Stem Cell Therapy Is Risky
As described above, STC treatment is autologous. This means that you don’t have to worry about there being tissue rejection as is the case in procedures where donor stem cells are used. Stem cell therapy isn’t like an organ transplant where you get an organ from somebody else. Here, the adult stem cells are derived from the person’s own blood plasma, bone marrow, or fat tissue. When injected unaltered, they pose no threat to your immune system and aren’t detected as foreign bodies.
Secondly, STC treatment is minimally invasive. This gives it precedence over surgeries and other invasive procedures, which often can be accompanied by complications and unpleasant (and often dangerous) side-effects. While mild bruising may occur at the site of injection, it subsides within a few days and there’s little to no downtime involved in the process.
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