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Hope and hype-stem cells are not yet all cures

If you’ve read many of the stem cell therapy ads you can find online, it’s acceptable to believe that stem cell therapy is a panacea. These ads can improve all sorts of symptoms, from knee pain and osteoarthritis, hair loss to heart disease, diabetes and even autism.

There is only one problem. There is little science behind many claims.

Stem cells are only approved for use in the treatment of certain cancers and blood disorders, Facebook Or Google Returns details of many clinics that offer treatment for many other conditions.

The tough reality is that while there is a lot of promising research being done in this area, no one should now give up a lot of money for what might just be snake oil treatment. Noel Caprice, Professor of Cardiovascular Sciences, School of Medicine Cork University Consultant cardiologist.

With more than 20 years of oversight in stem cell research as part of heart disease research, Caprice told Irish Times that everyone was skeptical of the range of illnesses the clinic was trying to treat with stem cells.

“The red light should flash and the alarm bell should sound. There is no cure for everything from Parkinson’s disease to multiple sclerosis, heart disease and knee pain. It’s ridiculous. The drug works like that. I don’t.

“True stem cell therapy is very complex because it requires adjusting the type of cells given to the organ used, and each organ has different challenges. Legitimate scientists are working on these things. But they aren’t there yet. It’s a very difficult research area.”

Big hope

Stem cells have long been considered a great hope in medicine. They are the building blocks of the body, cells that are produced by other types of cells. Under the right conditions, you can encourage other types of cells in your body, such as blood cells, brain cells, and cardiomyocytes.

In simplest terms, stem cell therapy involves culturing stem cells in the laboratory, inducing them to grow into other cells of a particular type, and has been shown to help the body’s disease in certain situations. Injecting these healthy cells into the affected area. Own cells to fight the disease.

This effect was first demonstrated in a mouse experiment about 30 years ago. But since then, not everything has been a simple voyage.

“The first promise of stem cells has not been met, and what is happening in the meantime is that commercial clinics that provide treatment are more advanced than science,” Caprice said.

“While the first trials in mice showed amazing regeneration, those advances proved to be less straightforward. When the first trials were reproduced, researchers recreated the same initial data. I could not do it.”

There are some significant breakthroughs in using stem cells, especially in the case of a combination of stem cells and gene therapy for thalassemia and leukemia, while research is underway, but a vicious clinic is under the stem cell flag. Treatment that does not preclude selling any type of treatment.

“In the private world, anything happens. Some people are using this treatment for a variety of problems, including multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and worsening of solid organs. Ten years ago, a ship sailing west Was up to cork A coast that used stem cells to treat people with multiple sclerosis. This has been going on for decades in this parallel world, which is driven primarily by money,” Caprice said.


by Frank Barry, Cell Therapy Professor, Institute for Regenerative Medicine NUI GalwayThe negative side-effect of off-label use of stem cells is that it makes it difficult for researchers to raise funding.

“Getting people to do this undermines our reputation. We are all painted with the same brush, which makes it much harder to raise money. These maverick clinics are bad habits. We have a blowback effect even when we’re not completely connected,” he said.

“The sad thing is that there are really, very exciting applications of stem cell therapy that will be possible in the future. All of these have undergone scientifically designed clinical trials, are carefully done and carefully managed. , Placebo-controlled, double-blind. Some of these trials are going well and suggest good results.”

Biopharmaceutical company Takeda For example, Ireland is currently using the results of trials conducted on stem cells to develop treatments for inflammatory bowel disease.

“It’s a horrifying condition that threatens people’s lives. It’s a new treatment and it’s very exciting. After years of careful practice in high-quality clinical trials, the project has achieved market approval,” Barry said. He says.

“My own research is on the treatment of arthritis with stem cell therapy, which is well underway. Currently in the midst of large-scale trials in many clinical settings. Europe, I think it will be positive when it is completed. ”


Performing such exams can be time consuming and expensive. Meanwhile, villains are stepping into the gap that exists between promising early results and actual rigorous, robust science.

“The harsh reality is that we can’t recommend stem cell therapy to a patient for something that hasn’t been directly licensed. If anyone does it now, they obviously have off-labeled it, and Basically they are taking the chance,” Barry said.

“I understand why someone wants to do that, but it’s not allowed. I hope there will be strong evidence to support this kind of treatment when all the work is done. At the moment, there’s no evidence to support treatment, so you can spend huge amounts of money, basically for free.”

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