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The Miracle of Stem Cells: New Hope for New Ways of Healing

New Ways of Healing

Stem cell technology is being used for an increasing number of medical procedures around the world.  As a wonderful example of its effect on our quality of life, Swedish doctors have created a new vein for a ten year old girl using her own stem cells.

The girl had a blocked hepatic vein.  This meant that her liver could not receive blood and nourishment from her circulatory system.  A new vein was grown for the girl using stem cells obtained from her bone marrow. This type of surgery is usually conducted by harvesting a blood vessel from the patient’s leg.  In some cases, a liver transplant may be needed to preserve life.

Using Stem Cells to Grow New Body Parts

In a landmark decision, doctors chose to create a new vein using the patient’s own stem cells.  To replace the damaged vessel, a 9 cm vein was harvested from a deceased donor and the original cells removed.  Stem cells from the girl’s bone marrow were grown in a procedure that took two weeks and produced millions of cells.  Once the cells covered the vein it was transplanted into the patient. No anti-rejection medicines were necessary since the cells covering the vein were the patient’s own.

This is a significant procedure for the future of both tissue engineering and modern medicine.  According to Suchitra Sumitran-Holgersson, a researcher who worked on the project, the vein needed to be replaced the following year with a second laboratory grown vein.  However, the ability to use our own stem cells to re-grow tissue and organs is a clear medical breakthrough.

How Much Will Stem Cell Therapy Cost?

Cost depends on the scope and complexity of what’s being treated. For regenerating larger tissue groups or organs for a transplant, you can imagine that the medical technology involved in this type of procedure is expensive. However, in terms of an orthopedic application, In recent years, scientists have discovered that stem cell injections may prove to be a lower cost and lower risk alternative

The Future of Stem Cell Transplants

Stem cells are currently being utilised for windpipe transplants and to construct functioning urethra for patients in hospitals all over the world.  Polish dialysis patients have received new blood vessels grown from donated skin cells.  The lessons learned in the stem cell laboratory mean that it will now become possible to grow new blood vessels and use them anywhere in the body.  It is very likely that new blood vessels will be created to repair heart damage.

The blood pressure within the heart is much higher than in the rest of the body and this makes heart surgery more complicated.  “It will be possible, but challenging to replace damaged arteries”, said Dr Laura Niklason, vice-chair of anaesthesiology and bio-medical engineering at Yale University. “Follow-up procedures are very important for stem cell transplant patients.  Patients need to be closely watched for a variety of possible complications,” said Dr. Niklason.

Stem Cells for Test Tube Organs

It may be a while before laboratory-grown organs become a possibility for those who need them.  However, skin and cartilage procedures are becoming commonplace in many countries around the world.  These revolutionary procedures are giving patients who might have to wait months, or even years for a new liver, lung or kidney renewed hope that their lives or the lives of others may eventually be saved thanks to the gift of stem cell technology.

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As you can imagine, if stem cells can be used to provide healing and tissue regeneration for more complex cases, they also can provide a well of wonders in less complex more specific applications– like cartilage regeneration for joins in knees, shoulders, hips, and ankles. Stem cell therapy can be used to treat any number of orthopedic-related injuries that affect joints, tendons, cartilage, and muscles– from muscle injuries to contusions and strains. Stem cell injections may prove to be a lower cost and lower risk alternative to surgery.

To learn more about stem cell therapy as it applies to restoring a better-functioning and reduced-pain or pain-free quality of life, check out https://lportho.com/stem-cell-therapy/ or contact us for a consultation.

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