Stem Cells

Stem cells are primal cells found in all multi-cellular organisms that retain the ability to renew themselves through mitotic cell division and can differentiate into a diverse range of specialized cell types. Research in the human stem cell field grew out of findings by Canadian scientists Ernest A. McCulloch and James E. Till in the 1960s.

The three broad categories of mammalian stem cells are: embryonic stem cells, derived from blastocysts, adult stem cells, which are found in adult tissues, and cord blood stem cells, which are found in the umbilical cord. In a developing embryo, stem cells can differentiate into all of the specialized embryonic tissues. In adult organisms, stem cells and progenitor cells act as a repair system for the body, replenishing specialized cells.

As stem cells can be readily grown and transformed into specialised cells with characteristics consistent with cells of various tissues such as muscles or nerves through cell culture, their use in medical therapies has been proposed. In particular, embryonic cell lines, autologous embryonic stem cells generated through therapeutic cloning, and highly plastic adult stem cells from bone marrow or from the umbilical cord blood are touted as promising candidates.

Please note that all stem cell treatments by European Medical Tourist are adult autologous (self-donated) mesenchymal (MSC) or Stromal stem cells. IFP and embryonic stem cells have a high risk of tumor production in human adults and are not used by our practitioners in patients. Please note: Cancer within a year of treatment is the only contraindication.

(Don't believe stem cells can happen with orthopedic injuries? Ask Kobe Bryant, Peyton Manning, and Terrell Owens.) Degenerative diseases are broken down into four categories, orthopedic, cardiac, neurological and aging for the purposes of stem cell treatment in our clinic.

Stem cells offer the greatest hope to orthopedic patients, because they have their highest rate of success in these patients. Orthopedic patients often face the degenerative condition of osteoarthritis along with the loss of cartilage in the hip, knee, ankle (the highest success rate) and shoulder joints. Arthroplasty surgery of these joints often involves some level of joint replacement, particularly if the disease has progressed too far. Joint replacement surgery is often successful for an average life span of approximately 15 years, depending on the condition of the bones and joint and the skill of the surgeon. Usually, the deterioration of the bond between the joint and the artificial device is the cause for the artificial joint to fail; then a more costly and less successful revision surgery must be done. Stem cells offer the hope that the mechanical joint replacement surgery can be postponed or avoided entirely. Stems cells can repair the arthritic end of the bones and restore cartilage without surgery, which would remove the entire joint. Therefore, stem cell therapy should be considered before joint replacement.