Stem Cells: A Brief Introduction

Stem cells are a hot topic in the medical world. Think of it this way, if the DNA is the blueprint of the body, stem cells are a cheat sheet for a healthy body. Stem cells are the body’s natural defense against damaged cells in the body. These damaged cells can be a result of injury, premature aging, or disease.  

Stem cells can morph into any other type of cell in the human body, which is why they hold such tremendous potential for treating a wide variety of diseases. Doctors have been studying stem cells and their potential as a treatment for more than 3 decades. 

Although stem cell therapy is still considered to be in its initial stages, it has already shown a lot of promise. Both as a research medium to further understand the human body and as regenerative medicine. So, if you or someone you love is suffering from a debilitating disease, stem cell therapy may be an option worth exploring. This article provides a brief and basic introduction to stem cells, stay tuned for more information.

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    What are Stem Cells?

    Stem cells are found in all multi-cellular organisms know these are known as the raw or master cell of an organism. These cells are characterized by their potency, which is the number of different types of cells they can produce. Inherently in a body, stem cells can differentiate into cells of tissues, vessels, blood, cartilage, and bone.  

    Stem cells evolve into different kinds of cells to repair or replace the damaged cells within our body. This is how we naturally recover from injuries and diseases now. Apart from differentiation, stem cells have a lot of other features that make them an excellent treatment for a variety of diseases and conditions. These features include

    Proliferation

    Proliferation is the ability to self-renew or to multiply in number. Stem cells are capable of dividing into daughter cells. These daughter cells further create undifferentiated or immature daughter cells and lineage-specific functional cells.

    Anti-inflammation

    These cells can detect inflammation and damage in the body and regulate anti-inflammatory responses. Stem cells can modulate the inflammatory response, making them a potentially powerful tool for treating a wide range of conditions. The Food and Drug Association (FDA) of the USA regulates stem cells as a therapy for multiple diseases. Thus, stem cell procedures are now being offered in multiple nations globally. In Pakistan, Shifa Regeneration and Rejuvenation Clinic provide high-quality, imported, and ethically harvested stem cells as a treatment for many different diseases and conditions.

    Immuno-modulation

    As a treatment, stem cells modulate the immune system to avoid negative responses or rejections. Immuno-modulation is done by either stimulating or suppressing the immune system. Stem cells in most cases stimulate the immune system to regulate bio-active growth factors and repair responses.

    What are the different types of Stem Cells and where do they come from?

    There are different types of stem cells that can be used for regenerative treatment and research purposes. However, the type called adult stem cells is often preferred by physicians. This is because these cells are free of any ethical or moral concerns and are FDA regulated. These cells are diverse in their potency and sources of extraction. 

    Stem cells can be obtained through both autologous and allogeneic methods. This means that they can either be extracted from the patient’s own body or are donated. Following are some of the sources of stem cells.

    What are Adult Stem Cells?

    The human adult stem cells include undifferentiated or unclaimed stem cells that coexist with other differentiated cells. Adult stem cells are typically easier to harvest and manipulate than other types of stem cells, making them an attractive option for regenerative medicine. These cells can be obtained from the following sources

    • Umbilical Cord 
    • Amniotic Fluid

    The adult stem cells are often classified as multi or unipotent cells. This means that these can only differentiate into limited types of cells. Yet, this is not the case with umbilical cord stem cells and amniotic fluid stem cells. These cells often act as pluripotent cells.

    Umbilical Cord Stem Cells

    Stem cells extracted from the umbilical cord can differentiate into all types of cells in the body. These adult stem cells are physiologically younger, unclaimed, and have not been exposed to any environmental toxins. Thus, there is no risk of rejection involved.

    The umbilical cord stem cells are readily available and take the least amount of lab manipulation. These cells show rapid renewing and differentiating properties. Given their versatility, it is not surprising that cord stem cells are one of the most promising areas of research in medicine today. These qualities make them viable and effective treatment options for many diseases and conditions. Umbilical cord stem cell procedures are frequently used for diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, CP, and sports injuries among other conditions.

    Amniotic Fluid Stem Cells

    Amniotic fluid stem cells (AFSCs) are a type of stem cell that is derived from the fluid that surrounds a developing fetus. One advantage is that these cells can be obtained without harming the fetus or the mother. These cells can differentiate into many different types of tissue, including bone, muscle, and cartilage. 

    Amniotic fluid stem cells are very versatile and show great promise for conditions that impair motor function. These cells can be coaxed into becoming nerve cells more effectively than other types of stem cells. Amniotic fluid stem cell procedure can be very beneficial for spinal cord injuries. 

    Umbilical cord stem cells and amniotic fluid stem cell procedures are regulated by the Food and Drug Association of the USA. These cells are free from any ethical and moral concerns. In Pakistan, Shifa Regenerative and Rejuvenation Clinic is a leading provider of umbilical cord stem cell therapy.

    What are Stem Cell Lines?

    Cell lines are a collection of stem cells that are developed in a lab setting. All the stem cells in a line are derived from a single stem cell. These cells can’t differentiate but only grow into daughter cells. 

    The stem cell lines are ideally free from any genetic defects. these are mostly used for genetic research, experimentation, and regenerative medicine. The initial cells for stem cell lines can be derived from embryos, adult stem cells, and induced pluripotent cells.

    Why do scientists want to use Stem Cells?

    In recent years, stem cells have attracted a lot of attention. This is because these stem cells serve multiple purposes. A stem cell is a novel approach that can be utilized to further our understanding of human development and demise. Not only that but it can also be used as a treatment for ailments that were thought to be untreatable before stem cell therapy.

    Study or Research Purposes of Stem Cell

    Understanding development

    Under the right conditions stem cells mature into different types of specialized cells. This phenomenon not only occurs in the body but also in the lab. Stem cells specialize in different organ tissues and can also create little organoids. These organoids are simpler versions of an organ. 

    Many physicians use these organoids in to study cell behavior and human development in great detail. Such in-depth study of human development was impossible before the breakthroughs with stem cell therapy. 

    Understanding Disease

    If stem cells can help doctors understand the development of human life, they can also provide a better understanding of the deterioration of that human life. Better insight into human development can help us better understand the diseases we fall victim to. To study diseases physicians use 

    • Stem Cells that are exposed to certain diseases.
    • Disease-induced organoids can also help scientists to better understand how a disease damages an organ and its function 

    Through such edge-cutting technology, doctors can closely monitor the process of deterioration and how to stop it. Stem cells help us pinpoint the causes and risk factors behind many diseases. This also helps us with finding a new solution for that disease.

    Testing  Drugs and Medications

    Stem cells can help with drug testing. Physicians can study how different drugs react to different diseases. Many researchers study the safety and effectiveness of drugs with the help of organoids.   Drug testing through stem cells can potentially replace the cruel animal testing done in the labs.

    Treatment through Stem Cell Therapy

    Stem cell procedures show promising results for diseases that were previously thought untreatable. These treatments are long-lasting and far more effective. With so much potential, stem cell therapy is an exciting area of medicine that is sure to change the way we treat disease in the future.

    Non-invasive stem cell procedure

    The non-invasive stem cell procedures are done through intrathecal and intravenous injections. As a treatment, these stem cells can target inflammation and damage. Raw stem cells can be injected anywhere. However, differentiated or lab specialized cells can be directly injected into specifically damaged areas. These cells also work well for autoimmune diseases because these cells can immuno-modulate.

    Stem cells created organ transplants.

    Stem cells are a promising option for transplant because they can repair and regenerate damaged tissue and organs. The stem cells can differentiate into different tissues, nerves, cartilage, and organs in a lab. The specialized functioning tissues and organs can be used for surgical transplants if required. This can minimize the process of waiting on a long list for donated organ transplants along with the risk of rejection.

    Conditions that can be treated by Stem Cells

    There is a long list of diseases and conditions that are currently being treated through stem cell procedures. So if you or someone you know is dealing with a health condition, don’t rule out stem cell therapy as a possible treatment option. Some of these diseases include

    Arthritis

    Arthritis
    Arthritis is a debilitating condition that affects millions of people around the world. The most common symptom of arthritis is pain and inflammation in the joints, which can make even simple tasks like walking or opening a door incredibly difficult.

    Stem cell therapy is emerging as a promising new treatment for arthritis. Not only are stem cell procedures pain-free but also they are actually effective. Injecting stem cells into the affected joint can stimulate the following improvements;

    • Stem cells have the potential of improving the cartilage, bone, and joint lining. Since stem cells can differentiate into different cells, they can replace or repair the damaged cells of the joints in patients with arthritis
    • Due to their anti-inflammatory properties, stem cells reduce the inflammation and joint pain that accompanies arthritis
    • Some forms of arthritis develop due to the immune system attacking the healthy cells in the body. Stem cells have also shown improvements for such conditions by modifying the immune behavior and reducing the formation of toxic white blood cells.  

    While stem cell therapy is still in its early stages, it has the potential to revolutionize the way we treat arthritis. Patients who undergo stem cell therapy show significant improvement in flare-ups, pain management, and joint movement. In Pakistan, Shifa Regenerative and Rejuvenation clinic provides stem cell treatment for arthritis patients.

    Autoimmune diseases

    Autoimmune diseases

    Autoimmune diseases are characterized by overactive immune responses that cause inflammation and damage to healthy tissues. Yet, stem cell therapy is a potentially viable treatment option for patients with autoimmune diseases who have not responded to other treatments. 

    • Stem cells extracted from the umbilical cord are young and undifferentiated, this is why the overactive immune system is unable to reject them. 
    • The reduced risk of rejection helps stem cells to actually influence and calm the immune system. These cells decrease the production of cytotoxic t-cells (toxic white blood cells) that lead to negative immune behavior.
    • Stem cells  also regulate the bio-active growth factors to restore and repair the functions of the body 

    Stem cell therapy may provide a way to “reset” the immune system and reduce the severity of autoimmune diseases. The stem cell procedures are effective in treating autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, and multiple sclerosis 

    Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

    Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

    Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is characterized by restricted airflow, sputum production, and breathing difficulties. While stem cell therapy is still in its early stages, evidence already suggests its effectiveness in treating COPD.  

    • Pluripotent adult stem cells like the umbilical cord and amniotic fluid stem cells can evolve into any type of cell in the body. These cells can specialize into lung cells to replace and regenerate the damaged cells. 
    • The differentiating capabilities of stem cells also stimulate the repair and growth of blood vessels for proper flow of blood and oxygen throughout the body. 
    • The anti-inflammatory properties of stem cells can actually clear the airways and soothe the inflammation of the bronchi. 
    • Specialized organoids are another method where stem cells can help treat lung disorders. In cases where a transplant is required, stem cell-derived lung organoids or tissues can be used.  

    Stem cell therapy was found to improve lung function and quality of life in patients with COPD. Additionally, these procedures are shown to be safe and well-tolerated in clinical trials. Shifa Regeneration and Rejuvenation has introduced umbilical cord stem cell therapy for different lung diseases in Pakistan.

    Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)

    Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)

    Chronic kidney disease (CKD) or acute renal failure is characterized by the gradual loss of kidney functioning. Common treatments for CKD involve risky and aggressive therapies. Stem cells on the other hand are safe and effective. 

    • Renal disease patients have significant degradation of kidney filters (nephrons). Stem cells improve the micro-environment of the body which delays natural cell death. The nephrons are both physically and functionally improved by stem cell therapy for kidney disease
    • One of the most influential aspects of stem cells is “paracrine signaling.” It is the ability of stem cells to influence the behavior of other cells. Stem cells stimulate the growth of receptive molecules, cytokines, and antioxidants. 
    • Stem cells morph into healthy kidney and vessel cells to improve the overall filtration process. Stem cells not only treat the disease’s symptoms but also target the underlying causes behind the condition. This can help stop further complications from developing.

    Diabetes

    Diabetes

    Diabetes is a chronic condition that interferes with the production or utilization of insulin. A hormone that regulates an average amount of blood sugar level. With stem cells, diabetic patients show improvement

    • The stem cells evolve into healthy islet cells and pancreatic activity which help control the blood sugar level. 
    • Umbilical cord stem cells have the least chance of getting rejected. These cells can improve immune behavior and reduce inflammation in blood vessels. 
    • These cells can regenerate the damaged pancreas. which improves the production of Alpha, Beta, and Delta cells. 
    • Stem cells influence the native cells for better cell communication to improve cell sensitivity.

    Stem cell procedure can potentially provide a life independent of insulin in a very safe and non-invasive way.  The lead provider of stem cell therapy treatment in Pakistan, Shifa Rejuvenation clinic provides stem cell procedures for diabetic patients.

    What does Stem Cell Therapy Cost in Pakistan?

    The FDA regulates stem cell treatments for more than 82 diseases. These therapies are safe, risk-free, and have long-term cost efficiency. The cost of stem cell therapy depends on the required amount of stem cells and the complexity of the patient’s condition. In Pakistan, authentic providers of stem cell procedures can charge starting from 4.5 lac PKR. the overall cost of stem cell procedures may increase according to the patient’s needs.

    Shifa Rejuvenation Stem Cell Clinic

    Shifa Regenerative & Rejuvenation Clinic specializes in regenerative medicine and cutting-edge therapies. We use the high-quality umbilical cord and amniotic fluid stem cells. These stem cells are attained through moral and ethical donations.

    Our clinic provides free expert consultation to clients that want to learn more about Stem Cell Therapy in Pakistan. Shifa Regenerative is a leading provider of treatment for all the above-mentioned conditions. We aim to deliver healthcare services to patients suffering from stubborn conditions. For more information contact our team of professionals at 051-8896711 or drop an email at [email protected]

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