3 Myths About Stem Cell Therapy
Stem cell research and therapy were a hotly-debated topic in the early 2000s, but there hasn’t been much mention of them in mainstream media in recent years. This has given some people the idea that stem cell therapy hasn’t been pursued, but nothing could be further from the truth.
In fact, research into stem cell therapies for regenerative medicine has been an important and well-funded field since the first bone marrow transplant in 1957, and several useful therapies have been tested, found effective, and are in use today all over the world. Yet the myths about stem cell technology still remain common. Here, we’ll debunk some of these common myths to give you a better understanding of what stem cell therapy entails.
Myth 1: All Stem Cell Therapies Are Identical
This is completely untrue. There are a number of factors that can differ in stem cell therapy treatments – such as the source of the stem cells, how they are processed and concentrated, the procedural method, as well as how effective they are with the condition at hand. At Piedmont Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, we focus on musculoskeletal disorders and particularly joint-related pain for stem cell therapy.
No stem cell therapy is a cure-all treatment and different therapies are used to treat different illnesses. For example, you may come across a clinic that specializes in treating sexual dysfunctions (like erectile dysfunction) with stem cell therapy, but this does not mean we provide this service to our own patients, nor do we believe in the research supporting this treatment.
Other clinics claim to provide a solution to a wide variety of neurological, immunological, cardiac, ophthalmologic, orthopedic, and cosmetic issues with stem cell therapy should also raise a sign of concern for inquiring patients. We specialize in orthopedic and pain management, and we do not yet feel that the use of stem cell therapy for these conditions has been firmly established.
Myth 2: Doctors Today Use Embryonic Stem Cells
While initial studies utilized embryonic stem cells, they are not commonly used today. Our therapies use adult stem cells or donated placental-derived stem cells. All adults have stem cells throughout their bodies. We harvest these biologics from your own bone marrow or adipose (fat) tissue. Placental-derived stem cells are donated by a mother after a live and healthy birth. This process is strictly regulated and does not harm the newborn in any way. The donated biologics are processed at an FDA approved lab before arriving in our office for treatment.
Stem cells are distinguished from other cell types by three important characteristics. First, they are unspecialized, second, they are capable of renewing themselves through cell division, sometimes after long periods of inactivity, and third, when a stem cell divides, each new cell has the potential either to remain a stem cell or become another type of cell with a more specialized function. Examples of specialized cells include muscle, ligament, bone cartilage and blood vessels.
Myth 3: Stem Cell Research and Therapy Are Illegal
Many years ago this was proposed by a few ill-informed legislators but was never under serious consideration. Stem cell technology is remarkably beneficial in several pain management therapies that are widely used today, and research is continuing to develop other useful therapeutic techniques. To outlaw this would be a pointless disaster for many patients.
Much to the contrary, in 2001 former President George W. Bush signed an order authorizing federal funds for stem cell research. California has a governmental agency, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) to fund and oversee stem cell research. It is a highly-regarded and legal field of medicine.
Sensationalized popular media, science fiction movies, and books, or an unwillingness to look at the actual science produce these myths, but myths are still myths and they cannot make something true that is not. There are many health benefits to stem cell technology and current day therapy. To learn more about how or if stem cell therapy can help your musculoskeletal condition, please contact us at 1-864-235-1834.