Adult stem cells are body parts to be used by physicians and not drugs. The N.Y. stem cell summit press document issued this morning helps the media understand this and also provides a history of adult stem cell use. More importantly, the document also informs the media of the fact that unlike embryonic or IPS cells, adult stem cells are being used clinically thousands of times a day in the United States as the practice of medicine. Some quotes from the document below (full pdf here):
“Harvesting stem cells from adult patients and then re-injecting them into the same patient (autologous stem cell use) has been a routine therapy in U.S. medicine for decades. More recently, as stem cell research has developed, the precise method of harvesting, processing and then re-injecting into patients has changed and improved.
Roughly 1 million patients have been treated with their own stem cells since the mid-1980s in the United States.”
“Frankly, this process of harvesting cells (be they bone marrow, skin, fat or any other cells) from one part of the body and then re-implanting them in another part has been an important aspect of medicine for, literally, hundreds if not thousands of years.What makes this discussion so relevant is that physicians are now specifically targeting stem cells (i.e. repair cells) for concentration, re-implanting and expansion before re-implanting. One problem with autologous use of adult Stem Cells is that the quantity of cells is only as good as the patient’s supply. Older patients with fewer stem cells will not likely have enough to overcome, say, osteoporosis when a bone fractures, or a tear in cartilage or a dead spot on the heart muscle, etc. In those cases, one strategy is to put the patient’s small number of stem cells into a culture media and allow them to expand. This is the next logical step in the development of modern autologous stem cell treatment.”
Wow, couldn’t have said it better myself…