Stem cell therapy can kill – health expert

Published on 10 January 2013 Hits: 988 Written by Jovee Marie N. Dela Cruz

A HEALTH expert on Wednesday warned that stem cell therapy can also kill.

Dr. Leo Olarte, spokesman of the Philippine Society for Stem Cell Medicine, said that if the stem cell that a patient received is from a donor, it could lead to fatal complications.

He said that a stem cell transplant can pose risks of complications, some potentially fatal, depending on many factors including the type of blood disorder, the type of transplant and the age and health of the person.

Although some people experience few problems with a transplant, others may develop complications that may require treatment or hospitalization. Some complications could even be life-threatening, warned Olarte, also the vice chairman of the Philippine Medical Association.

He said that such complications could be in the form of graft-versus-host disease (allogeneic transplant only), stem cell (graft) failure, organ injury, infections, cataracts, infertility, new cancers and even death.

Olarte said that anyone undergoing a transplant using stem cells from a donor (allogeneic stem cell transplant) may be at risk of graft-versus-host disease.

This condition occurs when a donors transplanted stem cells attack your body. Graft-versus-host disease can be mild or severe. It can occur soon after your transplant or months to years later, he added.

The doctor said that incompatibility can also lead to diseases of the skin (rash, often like sunburn), gut (mouth sores, abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting), liver (jaundice or yellowing of the skin), lungs (blocked airways) or eyes (irritation and light sensitivity).

It can lead to chronic disability due to organ injury or infections and can be life-threatening. Your doctor must monitor closely for signs and symptoms of graft-versus-host disease, Olarte said.

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Stem cell therapy can kill – health expert

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