Stem cells: what is it and why are they needed

Stem cells are often discussed, but many people know only that they are used for rejuvenation. At the same time, stem cell therapy involves many other options for their use, including diseases that have been considered incurable until recently.

The main properties of stem cells

The body of each person contains these so-called “immature” or undifferentiated cells, but in very small quantities. The organism itself uses them to “repair” the injured or diseased organs. If the “breakdown” is small, the natural resources of the body suffice, if it is bigger – in many cases, the stem cells can “promote from the outside”, that is, introduced in the form of a biological preparation. The main properties of stem cells are the ability to divide, “turning” into any organs and tissues and replacing damaged cells.

Stem cell treatment: in which fields of medicine are they used

For nearly 50 years, stem cells have been used for rejuvenation – now it is called anti- aging therapy. Modern approaches involve the use of stem cells in combination with other capabilities of medicine, including physiotherapy, cosmetology procedures, dietary recommendations. However, it is precisely the stem cells that can slow down aging processes most effectively.

The scientists worldwide are talking about the possibilities of treating diseases using stem cells. Ukraine is one of the leaders in this field, possessing both scientific potential and a clinical base. In particular, many studies in the field of application of stem cell preparations are conducted in the laboratory of the Institute of Cell Therapy, using biological material, which is stored in its own Cryobank, opened in 2003.

After clinical trials, lasting for five years, cord blood stem cells preparations, developed in the laboratory of the Cryobank, received an official authorization from the Ministry of Health of Ukraine for clinical use in the treatment of pancreatic necrosis and limbs ischemia. The television repeatedly spoke about the patient Vera Ivanovna Zinkevich, for whom the stem cell preparation became a rescue from pancreatic necrosis. After surgery the doctors gave her little chance for recovery. The woman who weighed 86 kg before the disease and weighed down to 40 kg had nothing to lose, and she agreed to the experimental treatment by stem cells, offered by the doctors. The introduction of stem cells in pancreatic necrosis and other diseases is carried out with the help of a dropper. This is not associated with the word “transplantation”, but it is precisely the transplantation. Vera Ivanovna was successfully exposed to several procedures like that and in a short time she felt better. The improvement was stable: over four years, a woman who has undergone pancreatic necrosis surgery and received stem cell therapy, feels good. Her case is far from unique: in Ukraine, more than 100 patients with various diseases were able to receive high-quality and effective treatment of severe pathologies.

Many have probably heard that stem cells (including those derived from the umbilical cord blood) are used to form a new tissue – a skin that is used in the treatment of severe burns. This technique is very complicated, it requires the participation of high-quality specialists and the use of expensive equipment, but Ukraine has the opportunity to apply it.

Clinical trials are going on

The basic properties of stem cells allow them to be used in a variety of serious diseases. The Institute of Cell Therapy (Kiev), owning its own certified Cryobank (the umbilical cord blood bank is also located in Kiev), is taking part in the final phase of clinical trials on the use of stem cell biologics in the treatment protocols for various diseases. Among the most promising directions are:

  • vascular complications of diabetes mellitus (diabetic foot, diabetic neuropathy, ulcers of the lower extremities)
  • heart disease (ischemic cardiopathy, pathology of cardiac contractility)
  • diseases of the musculoskeletal system (hernias of intervertebral discs, osteoarthritis of the knee joint)
  • keratitis (consequences of burns, infections)
  • Liver diseases (liver cirrhosis and viral hepatites)

In addition, research in the field of the creation of organs for transplantation using stem cells is going on in the world.

Rejuvenation with the stem cells: not only cosmetology

The possibilities of using umbilical cord blood stem cells for rejuvenation have already been mentioned. However, anti-aging therapy is not only a skin and appearance care. It is also an opportunity to improve the general state of health, the functions of all organs, in the literal sense to prolong youth. Thanks to the use of stem cells, the possibility ofeffective prevention of many  diseases has appeared – because if the body receives an additional opportunity for renewal in the form of a stem cell preparation, at any time it can use these cells to repair an injured or diseased organ.

Stem cells of the umbilical cord blood and placenta: what are the benefits

The umbilical blood is the source of hematopoietic stem cells from which blood cells are formed, and from the placenta it is possible to isolate mesenchymal stem cells that can be differentiated into cells of different tissues of the body. They have different properties and different fields of application, but the former and the latter may be the only effective remedy in the case of a serious illness. Participants of clinical trials and many of those who need treatment receive a drug from donor stem cells. They are selected according to the criterion of immune similarity, so that after the treatment there is no rejection of the donor material. However, the guarantee of complete immune matching is only in the case if the use of the own autologous stem cells, derived from cord blood or placenta at birth..

The technology of storing stem cells of the umbilical cord blood in the cryopreservation facility Cryobank exists far not for a long time. The opportunity to preserve the biological material for the child in Ukraine appeared in 2003, and since then, more and more families have made a decision in favor of such an investment to the future. Indeed, due to the foreseeability of parents, a person born nowadays will receive a universal drug through many years that can be used both for the treatment of diseases and for the maintenance of health and youth. In some cases, stem cells can also be used for siblings, sometimes parents.