A Rare Side Effects of Stem Cell Therapy: A Case Study

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Oct 11 2018

By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc – Updated: 28 Sep 2018 | *Discuss

There is no doubt that stem cell therapy holds enormous potential. Unfortunately, this potential also brings with it side-effects, some particularly severe. Such was the case during a therapy that used human foetal stem cells.

The boy in the case suffered from a rare genetic disease known as Ataxia Telangiectasia. This disorder affects many areas of the body and can cause significant disability. The body does not coordinate properly and those who suffer from the disease have a weak immune system as well as problems with their respiratory system.

While there have been some cases reported where experimentation on rodents resulted in the growth of tumours after stem cell injection, this hadn’t been documented in humans after foetal stem cell therapy. Researchers also knew that this risk in rodents could be reduced if the stem cells were differentiated before they were injected. This means that the stem cells were coaxed into the desired body cell for the therapy prior to injection.

In a person who has a healthy immune system, the normal ‘checks’ on the body would be more likely to prevent a tumour from establishing itself. We have known for some time now that there is the potential for stem cells to trigger the growths of tumours but the reality has been that this is a rarity.

Rather than put a stop to stem cell research, it has been suggested that we need to spend more time looking at the Safety of Stem Cells. We should try to find out more about what can potentially go wrong and then develop safeguards to reduce any risks associated with stem cell therapies. This way, we can get the most benefits from stem cells while minimising any chances of side-effects along the way.

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A Rare Side Effects of Stem Cell Therapy: A Case Study

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