Mesenchymal Stem Cell Therapy
Role of Stemcells in Anti Aging
Stemcells have the ability to regenerate the tissue from which they are derived over the lifespan of an individual. New cells are formed from mother cells which in turn can be formed by stemcells. If aging is the process of the body breaking down in the face of damage, then stemcells are the anti-aging treatment that can counteract the damage that causes aging and bring our bodies back to optimum health. However, stemcells are also reduced due to diseases illnesses, environmental factors such as smoking and heavy drinking, lack of exercise, malnourishment and mental depression. It is time to overcome serious health challenges and get back on the road to healthy living.
Stemcells have therapeutic capabilities that are distinct that extend beyond the regenerative-medicine arena. Cells can sense diverse signals, move to specific sites in the body, integrate inputs to make decisions, and execute complex response behaviors—all in the context of a specific tissue environment. These attributes could potentially be harnessed to increase our own body’s defense mechanism, in terms of improving our body’s immunity, prevention of diseases, improve organ health, and even anti-aging!
As we age, our body cells do not have the ability to renew and replicate into functional cell to maintain the normal function of the organs. Diseases, illnesses, Lifestyle habits like smoking, drinking excessively, lack of exercise, malnourishment and mental depression will reduce the life span of the cells in our bodies. With Mesenchymal Stem Cells therapy, the new and young cells will repair & regenerate your body, thereby creating better health benefits.
Benefits of Mesenchymal Stem Cell Therapy
Regenerate skin and
acts to reserve
Restore organs function and
Revitalize our body,
with increased greater stamina
Enhanced mental capacity
and improve memory
Less bone and
MSCs have unique immunomodulatory function, well tolerated in allogeneic (transplant onto a different person)transplantation. These cells are readily accepted into the body’s immune system and therefore they are not rejected.
These stemcells are also immunoprivileged; which means that they will not be killed by the host’s immune defence cells and neither will they cause any adversed reaction.
Mesenchymal Stemcells naturally perform therapeutic tasks. The human body has three kinds of natural agents that perform the tasks we demand of therapeutics. The first two are small molecules (eg: neurotransmitters) and biologics (such as antibodies, growth factors, cytokines, and peptide hormones). Mesenchymal stemcells are the third—and the only ones that can perform complex biological functions. Only cells sense their surroundings, make decisions, and exhibit behaviors to arrest and address the when & how to respond to the body’s system.
Mesenchymal Stemcells behaviour is exquisitely selective. These cells can sense their environment and will respond accordingly.
Mesenchymal Stemcells are special delivery agents. They can selectively recognize and actively migrate toward specific signals and exert their effects in a highly targeted manner.
Mesenchymal Stemcells can handle human genetic variability. Cells could potentially be engineered to automatically adjust to differences. Thus, in principle, cells could yield therapeutic responses that are less variable in different individuals.
• Cultured and processed
• Compliance with Good Manufacturing Practice
• High propensity to fully restore youthful vigour of the body and mind
• Abundant cells with strong proliferation capability
• Multi-directional differentiation potential
• Unique immunomodulatory function
• Greater energy & stamina
• Improved Libido
• Firmer Skin condition
• Enhanced memory
• Increased Hair texture
• Less Joint pains
Although there are many controversies surrounding stem cell research, the Ministry of Health recognises that it is crucial for local scientists and clinicians to be involved in stem cell research provided that these conform to ethical guidelines. It is vital for medical scientists to keep abreast of current advances in science, especially when there is an enormous potential of revolutionizing therapy in the form of cell replacement therapy. Hence the Ministry of Health has set up a task force to readdress essential issues in stem cell research and consider the evolution of emerging therapies in this update of the guidelines.
The Status Of Stem Cell Research In Malaysia
Stem cell research is relatively new in Malaysia. Most of the work thus far has involved haemopoietic stem cells (bone marrow, peripheral blood and cord blood). As these are from adult tissues, ethical concerns may be minimal since they are being used in the setting of haemopoietic stem cell transplantation. The use of sources of cells other than the adult stem cells e.g. cell lines or fertilized embryos is a major concern as it is likely that our local researchers will be conducting research in this area.
Background On Stem Cells
Stem cells as the name implies are cells capable of developing into other types of cells and tissues; for this reason they are often referred to as ‘pluripotential’ cells. Historically, stem cells have been viewed within the context of the embryo because it is within these early stages that we see the dramatic transitions of stem cells forming a range of tissues and organ systems. For example in the early trilaminar embryo, we see ectoderm cells giving rise to the outer epidermis and central nervous system, mesoderm cells giving rise to the cardiovascular system as well as bones and muscle, and endoderm cells forming the early gastrointestinal tract plus various accessory organs like the lungs and liver. Much of the proposed research on stem cells centers upon the early human embryo.
Alternatively, there have been promising studies with adult tissues where so-called ‘stem-cell’ activity has been demonstrated. For example under certain growth and hormonal conditions skin cells have been successfully transformed into bone or muscle cells. In other studies, bone marrow cells have been reprogrammed into heart muscle cells. Studies with adult tissue as potential sources of stem cells are starting, but there is a significant potential for using adult tissue in future treatment of human diseases.
Whether stem cells prove to be ‘the treatment of the future’ will depend on continued research and exploration. However, with current scientific, ethical, moral, and political questions yet to be resolved, stem cell therapy has yet to be seen and proven safe.
What Are Stem Cells?
Stem cell research exploded to the scientific scene in 1998 when researchers first reported that they had successfully isolated human embryonic stem cells. Unique properties of stems include that they are unspecialized, or they have the potential to make many different types of cells, are capable of dividing and renewing themselves for long periods of time, and they can also turn into specialized cells. Unspecialized cells transform into specialized cells such as neurons, muscle cells, or red blood cells through a process known as differentiation. Stem cells are either harvested from adults or embryos, and growing these cells outside the body requires the right mix of nutrients, hormones, growth factors, and blood serums. Undifferentiated cells are considered pluripotent when they have the potential to become any type of cell provided the condition is right. Once researchers isolate stem cells and allow for them to proliferate in a culture for six months without differentiating, a stem cell line has been created.
Adult stem cells are undifferentiated cells found among differentiated tissue or organs, and they have the potential to renew itself or differentiate into major specialized cell types. The role of adult stem cells in the body is to maintain and repair the tissues in which they are found. Adult stem cells are thought to reside in a specific area of each tissue where they remain quiescent, or non-dividing, for years until they are activated by either disease or tissue injury. Tissues that house stem cells include brain, bone marrow, peripheral blood, blood vessels, muscles, skin and liver. Adult stem cells are generally tissue specific, for instance, haemopoetic stem cells are blood-forming cells that are found in bone marrow. While adult stem cells have the potential to differentiate into mature tissue when isolated from the body they are extremely difficult to divide in the laboratory. Scientists believed that adult stem cells from one type of tissue can only yield that same type of tissues when cultured; but recent experiments have raised the possibility that stem cells from one tissue may be able to create cell types of completely different tissue types, also known as plasticity. While adult stem cells are free of ethical concerns, they are facing numerous scientific challenges.
Human embryonic stem cells have the potential to develop into essentially any type of cell in the human body. In theory, scientists believe that embryonic stem cells have the potential to theoretically divide without limit to replenish or create other cells. Embryonic stem cells also have the potential to either remain a stem cell or to develop into a specialized cell such as a red blood cell or a muscle cell. Embryonic stem cells are primarily obtained from frozen embryos that are donated through in vitro fertilization programs from extra embryos that were created for infertile couples to use during fertility treatments. A surplus of embryos are usually created and kept frozen for future use by the couple. When couples no longer need their frozen embryos for reproductive purposes, depending on the laws of that particular country, the embryos are used for stem cell research. Cell lines are grown by isolating human embryonic stem cells from the inner mass of a human blastocyst, or a 5-day embryo. With the help of fibroblast feeder layers, embryonic stem cells can be cultured indefinitely.
Human embryonic stem cells (hESC) can also be obtained by a method referred to as somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT), or therapeutic cloning. During SCNT, a nucleus is removed; removing the nuclear genome of an oocyte, and it is replaced with the nucleus of an adult cell. The egg is then activated to form a blastocyst, containing fewer than 100 cells, which contains genetic material identical to the adult donor cell. Scientist can either remove stem cells from the blastocyst or place the blastocyst into a uterus where it would have the potential to develop into a fetus. By using SCNT, researchers are able to control the genotype of hESCs which eliminates the probability of tissue rejection. While a cloned animal is abnormal, cloned stem cells are perfectly normal. If a gene is active in a fertilized stem cell, it is also active in a cloned stem cell at the same activity level. Research shows that there is no significant molecular difference between cloned and non-cloned stem cells. While embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells are both sources of undifferentiated cells, they both have several differences. Because embryonic stem cells are pluripotent, they have the ability to become all types of cells whereas adult stem cells are limited to developing into two cell types of the tissue or organ that they originated from.
Another difference between the two cells is the ease of growth in a culture. It is relatively easy for researchers to grow a large number of embryonic stem cells in culture compared to adult stem cells which are relatively rare and have no methods for greatly expanding the number in cultures. Finally, if a patient’s own cells are used to create adult stem cells, there is little risk that they would be rejected by the individual’s immune system, but because hESC clinical trials have not been conducted, scientist are unsure of the risk of rejection in the use of embryonic stem cells. Scientist believe that stem cell research is important to the future of medicine because with adequate and appropriate research, stem cells have the potential to treat disease by transplanting human stem cells into patients suffering from degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, traumatic spinal cord injury, Purkinje cell degeneration, Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy, heart disease, and hearing and vision loss. With gene therapy, a genetic defect would be corrected by giving a healthy version of the gene to a patient. A physician would isolate stem cells from the patient and introduce a harmless virus into the stem cells that express the correct version of the mutated gene and read minister the stem cells back to the specific disorders.
By using SCNT, scientists may also be able to change diseased cells to their primordial form and then monitor them to determine how and why abnormalities develop. Once scientists have understanding of diseased cells, they will be more successful in creating treatment options. While the untapped possibilities leave many members of the medical research community excited, there are numerous obstacles that may impede human stem cell research. Issues such as morality, funding, and national regulations impede scientists across the world from pursuing research possibilities related to gene therapy and stem cell research.
Ethical Issues Of Stem Cell Research
Many difficult questions engulf the morality of destroying embryos or using remnants of aborted foetuses to improve the medical wellbeing of other human beings. Opponents of embryonic stem cell research argue that human life begins when an egg is fertilized; therefore, a human embryo is equivalent to a human being. Proponents of embryonic stem cell research argue that during the natural reproductive process human eggs often fertilize, but fail to implant in the uterus. While a fertilized egg has the potential to form a human life, it is not equal to a human being until it has at least successfully implanted in a woman’s uterus. IVF clinics often create more embryos than needed over the course of fertility treatments and the excess frozen embryos are discarded. Opponents state that research on these embryos still condones the destruction of embryos, while proponents believe that it is morally permissive to use these embryos for potentially life saving biomedical research.
International Legislation On Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research
The policies on human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research used by different countries vary tremendously and change frequently. The basis for the regulation of stem cell research includes the source of the stem cell, objective of research, and the symbolic moral right of the embryo. There are four statuses of regulation on human embryonic research worldwide as shown in Table 1.
Potential Impact On Health
Stem cell research is important to the future of medicine because with adequate research, stem cells have the potential to treat degenerative conditions by transplanting human stem cells into patients. Presently, many of these chronic conditions have no cure and are managed by treating the symptoms. While the initial cost of receiving stem cell therapy may be high, it has the potential to outweigh the life long costs incurred through daily medications and hospitalizations. By making disease management easier, the quality of life for those diagnosed with these diseases and their family members would be greatly increased. With sufficient development of stem cell therapy, chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and Parkinson’s disease may be more effectively managed. To realize the promise of novel cell-based therapies for such pervasive and debilitating diseases, scientists must be able to easily and reproducibly manipulate stem cells so that they possess the necessary characteristics for successful differentiation, transplantation and engraftment. The following is a list of steps in successful cell-based treatments that scientists will have to learn to precisely control to bring such treatments to the clinic. To be useful for transplant purposes, stem cells must be reproducibly made to:
• Proliferate extensively and generate sufficient quantities of tissue.
• Differentiate into the desired cell type(s).
• Survive in the recipient after transplantation.
• Integrate into the surrounding tissue after transplantation.
• Function appropriately for the duration of the recipient's life.
• Avoid harming the recipient in any way. Also, to avoid the problem of immune rejection, scientists are experimenting with different research strategies to generate tissues that will not be rejected.
While the benefits of stem cell research may seem to be out of reach for the immediate future, with continued research, stem cell therapies are predicted to become common treatment for degenerative diseases. To be successful, researchers must collaborate and share limited resources.
Guidelines for Stem Cell Research and Therapy