Stem Cell Specialist
Dr. Rainer Fischer, of the European Integrative Medicine Center,
is the leading resource for stem cell procedures in Scottsdale, AZ.
Stem Cell Options at the European Integrative Medicine Center:
Stem Cell Therapy Q & A
by Rainer Fischer, ND
What Are Stem Cells?
Stem cells are undifferentiated cells found in different body tissues. The term “undifferentiated” means the cells are not specialized and are capable of changing into a more specific form. Stem cells can be thought of as the “replace and repair” system of the human body. For example, all stem cells can self-renew (make copies of themselves). Human embryo stem cells eventually develop into all the other specialized cells of the body, such as blood cells, bone cells, and muscle cells. Tissue-specific stem cells are more limited; a blood stem cell might become a red or white blood cell, but it cannot become liver or bone tissue.
What Is Stem Cell Therapy?
The concept behind stem cell therapy is to capitalize on stem cells’ ability to replace and repair tissues and to support healing. For example, chemotherapy for cancer can destroy the bone marrow. In some diseases, such as leukemia or lymphoma, the bone marrow is deliberately destroyed as part of the treatment. Hematopoietic or blood stem cells are then used to replace the damaged bone marrow. Implanting new bone, skin, or corneal (eye) tissue is performed to support the healing process. The stem cells can develop new healthy cells in the treated area.
What Is Stem Cell Therapy Used for?
The most well-known form of stem cell therapy is bone marrow transplantation, which has been used for more than 30 years. Stem cell therapy has applications in treating cancers of the blood, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved several different forms of this treatment. However, researchers are constantly looking for new applications. Stem cells are now being used to help regenerate tissue in cases of arthritis or degenerative joint disease that causes joint pain. Degenerative disease, in particular, results from wear and tear, which makes stem cell therapy potentially useful to replace and repair damaged tissue.