Stem cells represent undifferentiated structures. Stem cells form more mature cells of different tissues in the process of growing. It depends on which biologically active compounds (growth factors) influence them, as well as on the presence of other organs and number of tissues. These features of stem cells make it a viable treatment solution in healthcare. The most widespread use of stem cells have been in transplantology.
Stem cells features
Due to the fact that stem cells are undifferentiated structures, they have a number of specific properties, which include:
- Pluripotency is a key feature of these cells thanks to which they are widely used in medical practice. Such a feature determines a possibility of stem cells differentiation into basically any tissue depending on the environment.
- Unlimited proliferation means that stem cells have the ability to divide when fed an artificial nutrient media without ripening. This makes it possible to increase their number in laboratory conditions.
- Long life span of the cell means they can maintain its viability for a long time.
All these stem cells properties make it possible to actively apply them in transplantology to obtain tissues to be transplanted.
Stem cells types
There are several types of stem cells which depend on the place they have been taken from and the stage of their maturity:
- Embryonic cells - are taken from the embryo before it is implanted into the uterine mucosa. They have the least maturity, so they can develop to any tissue of the human body.
- Fetal cells - are found in the fetus, they are obtained after an abortion is performed for medical reasons or from umbilical cord blood. They have less potency, so they can not differentiate into all tissues.
- Postnatal cells - these structures are in the human body after birth. Depending on their location, hemopoietic (giving rise to blood cells), stromal (precursors of connective tissue) and tissue-specific (possessing the lowest potency, are found in virtually all tissues of the human body) are distinguished.
Different types of stem cells can be used in transplantology, depending on the tissues or organ that require transplantation.
Key directions of stem cells usage
The main purpose of using stem cells in various fields of medicine is the replacement of damaged tissues (transplantation), which includes several directions:
- Transplantation of red bone marrow
- Matrix-induced chondrogenesis for restoring the cartilage of the articular surface
- Growth of the retina for implantation in ophthalmology
- Restoring nerves
- Vascular transplantation
- Obtaining the structures of the bronchopulmonary system on a special matrix followed by implantation.
The directions of transplantation of "grown up" parts of the kidneys and other organs of the urinary system, as well as of the internal secretion glands are promising.
Stem cells transplantation. Use of stem cells is one of the most effective techniques of leukemia and some other hematopoiesis system diseases treatment. Hematopoietic cells are used for this. An accumulation (cultivation) is carried out in the laboratory after they are taken from the donor. Then they are introduced into the red bone marrow. At the same time, the main therapeutic effect is achieved - the normalization of the formation and ripening of cells of all germs of hematopoiesis.
Matrix-induced chondrogenesis. Medical specialists in the field of orthopedics and traumatology often face pathological conditions characterized by degeneration (destruction) of cartilage components against the background of their impaired nutrition or prolonged inflammatory process. Restoration of cartilaginous tissue using conventional methods of conservative therapy is impossible. Therefore, the only possibility to restore is implantation. Stem cells are introduced into a special matrix with the help of modern technologies, which is an intercellular substance of the cartilaginous tissue. Full chondrocytes (the main cells of the cartilaginous tissue) are formed there. Then the "grown" cartilaginous tissue is implanted into the joint.
Retina “growing”. The retina is a complex structure that does not recover after traumatic injuries or a pathological process. The only way the patient can return to normal vision is to transplant this structure. "Growth" of mature cells of the retina is performed on a special matrix with the help of modern technologies, followed by its implantation.
Vessels transplantation. Modern technologies for the application of stem cells in medicine include the "growing" of an arterial vessel site, followed by its implantation. Predominantly, this technology is used to "replace" arteries affected by atherosclerosis: in the heart, the brain and other organs.
The methods of using embryonic stem cells for "growing" the structures of the bronchopulmonary, urinary and endocrine systems are also becoming a reality. The main advantage of these technologies is that embryonic cells on the surface do not contain tissue compatibility antigens, therefore the tissues obtained from them after implantation are not rejected by the patient's body.
Hospitals to undergo stem cells treatment course
These latest discoveries of cell therapy are not used in the most developing countries. Therefore, patients have to travel abroad to obtain high-tech medical care. Germany became one of the popular destinations for medical tourism. Stem cells for the treatment of various pathologies are successfully used here for a long time already.
Here are some clinics where cell therapy is applied:
- Essen University Hospital. There is a bone marrow transplant station in this hospital. Transplantation of both autologous (own) and allogenic (from the donor) stem cells is carried out here. Leukemia, aplastic and myelodysplastic syndromes are successfully treated in the clinic with the help of this technique.
- Charité University Clinic. Cell therapy has been used here to restore cartilage for more than 10 years. They are grown from stem cells and transplanted into the patient. This is one of the most modern methods of treating joint arthrosis. It allows delaying or avoiding endoprosthetics (artificial joint installation).
Arrangement of treatment abroad
If you are looking for a suitable clinic where innovative methods of treatment of various diseases are applied, including stem cells therapy, you can use the help of Booking Health specialists. All you need to do is apply. We will recommend the best curative program abroad within 24 hours for you. After that, the medical consultant will contact you to clarify the request and coordination of the clinic for the treatment.
In the future, you can use the services of BookingHealth for the organization of treatment abroad. This will allow you to:
- Save up to 70% of the treatment program cost
- Obtain insurance that covers all the planned costs for medical services (for example, in case of complications, the need for additional diagnostic procedures, etc.)
- Use other services (written and oral translation, communication with the administration of the clinic, assistance in obtaining a visa)
Send a request for our medical specialist to contact you within the next few hours.
Choose treatment abroad and you will for sure get the best results!
Author: Dr. Nadezhda Ivanisova