Cell therapy – Institute of Cell Therapy – …

Posted: October 1, 2014 at 7:41 am

About cell therapy

Cell therapy is a new official direction in medicine, based on the use of regenerative potential of the adult stem cells, aimed at the treatment of a variety of serious diseases, rehabilitation of patients after injuries and fighting with the premature signs of aging. Stem cells are also considered to be the promising biological material for the creation of the prosthetic heart valves, blood vessels, trachea, they are also used as the unique biofiller for the reconstitution of bone defects and other purposes of the plastic and reconstructive surgery.

The scientists explain the regenerative mechanism of action of stem cells both by their ability to transform into the cells of blood, liver, myocardium, bone, cartilage or nervous tissue and thus restore damaged organs and also by the reovery of the functional activity of the other cells (through the so-called paracrine type) by means of the production of a variety of growth factors.

For clinical purposes, in most cases stem cells are obtained from the bone marrow and cord blood, it is also known that the amount of stem cells, sufficient for treatment, can be isolated from the peripheral blood of an adult person, but after pre-stimulation of hematopoiesis. In recent years there is an increasing number of reports worldwide on the clinical application of stem cells, derived from the placenta, adipose tissue, umbilical cord tissue, amniotic fluid, and even pulp of the milk teeth. Depending on the disease, age and condition of the patient, one or another source of stem cells may be preferred. Hematopoietic (blood-forming) stem cells are used for more than 50 years in the treatment of leukemia and lymphomas, and this treatment is commonly known as the bone marrow transplantation, but today hematopoietic stem cells, derived from umbilical cord blood and peripheral blood are more often used in the hematologic clinics of the world. At the same time, for the treatment of traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries, the stimulation of fractures and chronic wounds healing the mesenchymal stem cells are more preferred, being the precursors of the connective tissue. Mesenchymal stem cells are found in big quantity in fatty tissue, placenta, umbilical cord blood, amniotic fluid. Due to the immunosuppressive effects of mesenchymal stem cells, they are also used in the treatment of a variety of autoimmune diseases (multiple sclerosis, ulcerative colitis, Crohns disease, etc.), as well as post-transplantation complications (to prevent the rejection of the transplanted donor organ). For the treatment of cardiovascular diseases, including lower limbs ischemia, the umbilical cord blood is considered to be the most promising, as it contains a special kind of the endothelial progenitor stem cells, which can not be found in any other human tissue.

Cell therapy may be autologous (own cells are used) and allogeneic (donor cells are used). However, it is known that every nucleated cell in the human body has certain immunological characteristics (HLA-phenotype or immune passport), that is why the use of donor stem cells requires immunological compatibility. This fact determines the appropriateness of the banking of the own stem cells, frozen until the person is still young and healthy. In this aspect the human umbilical cord blood has undisputed medical and biological value as the source of several unique lines of stem cells. Collected in the first minutes of life, umbilical cord blood stem cells have the highest potential for proliferation (growth) and directed differentiation.

Stem cell therapy can be applied both intravenously like a drug, and directly into the damaged tissue. In recent years the method of intraosseous transplantation of cord blood stem cells is more widely used, contributing to the more rapid engraftment. Also a method of introducing stem cells directly into the coronary arteries (coronary heart disease, myocardial infarction) was introduced and it is called cellular cardiomyoplasty.

Cell therapy can be carried out both in monotherapy and complementary to the surgical or drug treatment.

Currently stem cells are successfully used in the treatment of about 100 serious diseases, and in some cases this is the only effective treatment.

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