In the modern world, scientific inventions do not stand still. For decades, mankind has been studying stem cells. Stem cell therapy is becoming more and more popular every year. Stem cells are cells that do not have “specialization” and that are able to divide, turning into any kind of tissue – skeletal muscle, blood, neurons, liver, and so on. Stem cells play the role of universal “spare parts” that the body uses to grow or repair various tissues. In recent years, thanks to positive results of clinical trials, the stem cell therapy gives a chance for life to some patients with incurable diseases.
Stem cell transplantation in cancer treatment
The main “healing” role of stem cells is to restore the patient’s own bone marrow. Bone marrow is a major producer of human immune and blood cells. The bone marrow often suffers from drug or radiation treatment of the serious disease (usually cancer). Chemo- and radiotherapy mainly affect cells that divide quickly. Since bone marrow cells also divide actively, high doses of chemotherapeutic drugs and irradiation can seriously damage or even destroy it. Without healthy stem cells, an organism is not able to produce the blood cells necessary for delivering oxygen, protecting against infections and maintaining normal blood coagulation.
During the bone marrow and peripheral blood stem cell transplantation, the patient’s own stem cells are destroyed during treatment are replaced by the healthy ones. Thus, transplanting healthy stem cells allows you to restore the ability of the bone marrow to produce blood cells. To understand how well the new bone marrow works, doctors carry out the aspiration of bone marrow, and study its cellular composition under the microscope.
Standard stem cell treatment methods
In some diseases, stem cell treatment is the only therapeutic method, and in other cases they can be used when the first-line therapy has failed, or when the course of the disease is very aggressive.
Here are the most frequent groups of blood diseases in which this therapy is the main one:
- Myelodysplastic syndrome.
- Other disorders of blood cells proliferation.
- Transplantation for the inherited diseases of the immune system and other organs.
- Transplantation for the inherited metabolic diseases.
- Solid tumors that do not originate from the hematopoietic organs and the immune system.
Methods of treatment in the clinical research
A “clinical research” is a study that is conducted in humans to evaluate treatments that are not considered standard yet. Possible medical fields of the stem cells application include:
- Gene therapy for inherited diseases.
- Cardiovascular diseases.
- Neurological disorders.
- Autoimmune diseases.
Doctors evaluate efficiency of stem cells usage along with their safety and tolerability. Only combination of good indicators in all spheres makes it possible to introduce the technique into the clinical practice.
How to get stem cells for transplantation?
Stem cells used for transplantation are harvested from the bone marrow (spongy tissue, which is located inside large bones). Bone marrow harvesting process is the same for all types of transplantation (autogenous, syngeneic and halogen). It is performed in the operating room under anesthesia (i.e., the donor sleeps during the procedure). It is possible to use spinal anesthesia, which causes a loss of sensitivity below the waist. A needle pierces the skin and is inserted into the hip bone (in rare cases, into the sternum), and the bone marrow is absorbed into the syringe. The whole procedure takes about an hour.
The donor bone marrow is processed in order to remove bone and blood fragments. If transplantation is not performed immediately, a preservative is added and bone marrow is frozen to preserve the stem cells. This reduces significantly the price of the subsequent procedures. The technique is called cryopreservation. If necessary, cells can be frozen for many years.
Thanks to the vast experience and use of modern methods of treatment and diagnostic in clinics of Germany, the procedure of stem cell transplantation is as painless as possible. After transplantation, you will stay under the supervision of a doctor who will monitor your health state during the rehabilitation period.
For the foreigners, it will be easier to undergo stem cell treatment in Germany with assistance of Booking Health. Booking Health is the medical tourism provider with international ISO certification that offers check-ups and treatment in the best hospitals in Germany along with help in:
- Solving all organizational issues such as the selection of a specialized hospital.
- Making the appointment for diagnostics and doctor’s consultation.
- Preparing the preliminary programs for diagnosis making.
- Excluding additional coefficients for the foreigners and overpricing (saving up to 50% of total cost).
- Control of invoices and final calculation.
- Keeping in touch with the clinic after treatment.
- Booking the flight, transfer, room in the clinic for the patient himself and, if necessary, booking accommodation for relatives.
- Highly qualified interpreter selection.
- Full follow-up of the patient during treatment.