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General NewsIs stem cell treatment routine?

September 1, 2015

Even after 100 years of research, stem cell treatment is still experimental. Stem cells are often used to treat fatal diseases, such as leukemia or lymphoma. But recently, some doctors are treating non-fatal conditions with stem cells. Some medical experts are concerned.
Stem cells are found in every tissue and organ of the body. They divide constantly. After the division, one stem cell becomes the highly specialized cell of an organ. However, the other stem cell waits in a reserve pool. The reserve stem cells are necessary for the future renewal of organs and tissues. According to Stanford’s School of Medicine website, “Every single cell in our skeleton is replaced every 7 years.”
Because stem cells have the power to renew bodily organs and tissue, some doctors are experimenting with their use. Some clinics in the U.S. now offer patients stem cell therapy to treat hair loss or to help people look younger with face lifts.
But there are problems. First, using stem cell therapy for routine medical conditions is experimental, and it has dangerous side effects, including death. It is also expensive and can cost from $5,000 to over $20,000 per treatment.
The concerns have moved the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to act. This federal agency is responsible for “assuring the safety of human and veterinary drugs, biological products…” The FDA is now requiring American doctors to get permission to use stem cell therapy to treat patients.
Stem cell research is promising, but incomplete. Only more years of study will reveal how stem cell therapy can safely treat a variety of medical conditions.
Developed by Ekaterina Sidorova

Published September 2015

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