The Pros and Cons of Stem Cell Therapy

In the evolving world of regenerative medicine, stem cell therapy is quickly emerging as a beacon of hope with exciting possibilities to improve a wide range of diseases, damages, and disorders.

This innovative treatment harnesses the natural power of stem cells, showing great promise in several medical areas, including immune modulation, cell differentiation, and the reduction of inflammation. These effects are crucial in the field of regenerative medicine, potentially allowing for new or quicker treatment options for various conditions, significantly improving patient health and quality of life.

Perhaps you or someone you know is interested in or considering stem cell therapy. Like with any medical procedure, it’s important to understand as much as possible about a treatment before pursuing it.

In this blog, we’ll explore some of the benefits and challenges of stem cell therapy. By understanding the multifaceted nature of this groundbreaking approach in medicine, we hope to provide you with a balanced perspective and the necessary knowledge to make an informed choice about your treatment options.

women sitting on sofa recovering from stem cell therapy
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What is stem cell therapy?

stem cell therapy patient with two doctors

Most cells in the body are ‘specialized’, meaning they have an important function which is critical for our health and wellbeing. For example, white blood cells are specialized to protect the body against infections and diseases.

However, specialized cells start as stem cells. Stem cells have the unique ability to develop into different types of specialized cells. This means that stem cells are the foundation and starting point for every organ and tissue in the body. This remarkable characteristic is what makes stem cells so valuable in medicine.
When stem cells are introduced into a targeted area during therapy, they can divide and develop into the specialized cells needed in a specific tissue or organ. This can help to stimulate the body’s own healing process and initiate regeneration in that targeted area. For example, stem cells used to treat neurological damage might end up as nerve cells and then start to duplicate exponentially to form more, healthier nerve cells.
A wide range of clinical studies show that stem cell technology can successfully allow the body to heal itself, significantly improving the quality of life for many patients suffering with a variety of diseases and disorders.

The pros of stem cell therapy

professional looking in microscope at stem cells

Versatility

As research and treatments become more advanced, the applications of stem cell therapy are constantly evolving. Research shows stem cell therapy is being used to improve a wide array of diseases and conditions, such as:

Stem cell therapy is also being used in a range of other conditions such as:

The adaptability of stem cells make them hugely valuable for addressing diseases and injuries that currently have limited treatment options.

Personalized approach to recovery

Stem cell therapy can be tailored to each individual. So, at Stemwell, instead of following universal treatment plans, we take a detailed look into each individual, understanding their comprehensive health background and goals for treatment.

This helps us put together a bespoke treatment plan to ensure that each individual gets the best results for their specific condition.

Safety is prioritized

Although stem cell therapy is a relatively new branch of medicine, the potential benefits of the treatment means that research is quickly advancing. Whilst the safety of any medical treatment can never be fully guaranteed, there are a range of factors within stem cell treatments at Stemwell that make it a safe treatment option.

  • Non-invasive: stem cell therapy is administered through a targeted injection or intravenously. Unlike traditional surgical treatments, this therapy is far less intense and requires much less recovery and aftercare.

    Lower risk of rejection: At Stemwell, we use ethically sourced stem cells derived from the umbilical cord tissues (known as Wharton’s jelly) of healthy donors. Whenever you introduce a foreign substance into the body, there is a risk of rejection. However, research suggests that stem cells from umbilical cord tissues have much less chance of rejection and often lead to effective outcomes. For instance, a review of regenerative treatments for rheumatoid arthritis found that stem cells from umbilicord cord tissues caused no immune rejection compared to other tissues. Additionally, unlike other forms of treatment such as an organ transplant, no blood products are used, so no Human Leukocyte Antigen matching is required. This means umbilical cord tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells face no chance of rejection. What’s more, to ensure an extra level of protection, after collecting umbilical cord tissues, we rigorously analyze and screen the stem cells to ensure there will be no rejection potential.
  • Regulation: In Bogota, Columbia, stem cell therapies are regulated by the Secretary of Health. This means we are inside the health system regulations, delivering a robust and reputable regulatory framework to offer peace of mind to those who use our services.

Convenient procedure

Most stem cell treatments can be completed during the day and an overnight hospital stay is not usually necessary unless the doctor wants to keep someone under observation. Our state-of-the-art facility is conveniently located in Bogota within a fully functioning and fully certified and accredited hospital, making any observation or procedures both safe and effective.

The cons of stem cell therapy

doctor carrying out stem cell treatment with his team

Ethical considerations

There are different types of stem cells which come from different sources. The most contentious and debated ethical issue in stem cell therapy is the use of embryonic stem cells, which are derived from embryos. Whilst the versatility of these cells is unmatched, the use of embryonic stem cells raises ethical concerns as it requires destroying an embryo.

At Stemwell, we never use embryonic stem cells and instead use ‘mesenchymal stem cells’, which are ‘adult stem cells’. These are stem cells found in small quantities in most tissues like bone marrow and the umbilical cord. Though these cells aren’t as versatile as embryonic stem cells, the process of collecting these tissues is much more humane and less controversial. We only use stem cells collected from the umbilical cord tissues of healthy and willing donors.

Side effects can’t be ruled out

Many research studies show cell therapy with tissues from the umbilical cord has been well tolerated on many other treatments of pathology, diseases and/or disorders internationally. However, like with any medical procedure, it is possible that an adverse effect related to the use of stem cells may occur. Each body reacts differently and therefore so does each treatment. Whilst this is very rare, our experts at Stemwell will be able to walk you through any specific risks associated with your treatment.

Accessibility

Even when effective, stem cell therapies might not be accessible to everyone. Issues of cost, geographical location, and availability of specialized care can create barriers to access, potentially limiting the benefits to a small segment of the population.

Lack of regulation

The fast pace of stem cell research and the range of potential applications have outstripped the development of specific regulations. This can make it difficult to distinguish between legitimate and dubious treatments and clinics. At Stemwell, we make sure to follow all regulations set by the Secretary of Health, and only use treatments which have been rigorously tested and approved.

Frequently asked questions

Like with every medical procedure, the success of stem cell treatment can never be 100% guaranteed. Outcomes can vary widely depending on your specific condition being treated and any individual patient factors. However, stem cell therapy is rapidly evolving and research is helping to improve its effectiveness for various medical conditions.

Each person is different, but most patients begin to notice positive results within the first few days or months after treatment. In other people, it can take up to 3 to 6 months to show results. At Stemwell, we recommend incorporating other resources during recovery, for example, physical therapy, healthy nutrition, and engaging with a support network.

Most people don’t find stem cell therapy painful. Some people may experience temporary discomfort during treatment, but this shouldn’t last long. Regenerative therapy may also cause normal and controllable inflammatory processes.

Stem cell therapy has shown promise in treating a variety of conditions, but whether it serves as a permanent fix depends on several factors, including the condition being treated, your overall health, and how you respond to the therapy.
For some conditions, stem cell therapy has shown to lead to long-lasting improvements. However, in other cases, stem cell therapy may provide temporary relief or a partial improvement in symptoms. Although more evidence is needed to determine the efficacy of stem cell therapy over time, our regenerative medicine experts at Stemwell will be able to walk you through what to expect in terms of longevity.

A medicine specialist shaking hands with a patient

A summary

It goes without saying that stem cell therapy has a wide range of potential benefits and drawbacks. The table below summarizes some of the key points to consider when making a decision about stem cell therapy. Our team at Stemwell are also happy to discuss any concerns or questions so that you can make the right decision for you in confidence.

Benefits of stem cell therapy Challenges of stem cell therapy
Treats a wide range of conditions making it a versatile treatment option
Some forms of therapy are ethically controversial and immoral
A bespoke and personalized therapy
It can be costly and lack accessibility
Less invasive than traditional treatments
There is limited regulation across stem cell therapy
Convenient procedure without the need for an overnight hospital stay
The procedure may carry some risks, although this is very rare when using stem cells from umbilical cord tissues
Very low risk of rejection when using umbilical cord tissues
Effectiveness can’t be 100% guaranteed
Stemwell is regulated by the Secretary of Health and only uses rigorously tested stem cell therapy methods
The results of cell therapy may not last forever
Research is advancing quickly, helping to enhance the effectiveness and safety of stem cell therapy

Our clinic in Bogota puts patient safety and satisfaction first:

  • Our regenerative medicine are highly skilled and have extensive experience with many successful outcomes
  • We follow strict regulations and only use rigorously researched methods

 

Ready to learn more about stem cell therapy?

A woman making a heart symbol with her hands

At Stemwell, our team of doctors are highly skilled in successfully supporting thousands of people with a range of stem cell treatments. If you would like to learn more about stem cell therapy you can contact us with any questions, or apply today to check your eligibility.

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Stemwell:
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Maria Alejandra Ortiz Vidal