Safety And Stem Cell Procedures (last of two parts)

Stem Cell Therapy is a promising avenue for medicine, with potential as a cure for a host of illnesses and conditions, and is seen as a way to counteract the effects of aging on the human body. As such, it has become the buzzword in social circles, with youthful-looking celebrities being whispered about as having undergone the treatment abroad.

Now that there are already several facilities that are offering Stem Cell treatments right here in the country, Dr. Cristina Puyat of the Anti-Aging Sciences & Cosmetic Institute (ASCI) in Pasig City gives a lowdown on what to expect with your "get-well" shots.

Prepping for the procedure

From the outset, Puyat presents this caveat: "The only stem cells that have been shown to be safe are the stem cells derived from autologous sources (stem cells from the patients themselves). As any medical or experimental procedure carries a risk, patients should be well informed before embarking on any therapy or procedure and discuss concerns with the physician conducting such procedure. At the ASCI, only those patients who are well informed and who qualify for the stem cell treatment may receive such treatment. Comprehensive laboratory results, a thorough history, and a physical must be reviewed prior to any procedure."

Those who think the stem cell syringes can plunge in right away should think again; and clinics offering a one-day affair are definitely a no-go, since preparations are required. Aside from screening and consultations prior to the treatment, Puyat cautions that several measures should be taken before the stem cells are extracted and transplanted. "There are many preparations needed before treatment, but most simply: It is recommended that the qualifying patient abstain from any excessive alcohol and tobacco consumption. Patients are nutritionally prepared prior to the treatments and cleared by other attending physicians if needed."

During and after treatment

As treatments are done in a clinical setting, questions of a need for hospital stay may arise. Confinement is not necessary. Puyat continues: "Depending on the treatment desired and determined jointly via the patient and attending physicians, the entire treatment is via an outpatient setting where patients arrive for the stem cell extraction and are cleared to depart later in the day." And one must not simply rely on the treatment to do its restorative job alone. "As with any medical procedure, stem cell patients should eat a healthy diet and rest. The medical staff of reputable clinics should be available to answer any question or concern following the procedure."

She adds that, depending on the results, this may be a one-shot event. "Repeated procedures are never mandatory and must be addressed with the attending physician on a case-to-case basis. Results from the first procedure, successes and failures will be assessed and addressed prior to any approval for a repeated treatment."

Not from online shopping!

A quick glance at online selling sites shows establishments offering everything from stem cell injection kits to stem cell capsules. And the question is, are these safe? "Safety and effectiveness are both a concern for such capsules and kits. At this point, if it is not autologous, we cannot consider it to be safe or effective until further studies are performed," the doctor cautions. "Whereas some may be a waste of money, others like embryonic and genetically manipulated stem cells like induced pluripotential stem cells (IPCs) from skin can be outright dangerous and teratogenic (cancer forming) because of their innate ability to replicate indefinitely. Additionally, IPCs have cancer genes that have been inserted into them via retroviruses to make them pluripotential. Neither type of stem cell has been proven safe."

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Safety And Stem Cell Procedures (last of two parts)

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