What is Stem Cell Therapy?

Regenerative medicine is an emerging branch of medicine with the goal of restoring organ and/or tissue function for patients with serious injuries or chronic disease in which the bodies own responses are not sufficient enough to restore functional tissue. A growing crisis in organ transplantation and an aging population have driven a search for new and alternative therapies. There are approximately 90,000 patients in the US transplant-waiting list. In addition there are a wide array of major unmet medical needs which might be addressed by regenerative technologies.

New and current Regenerative Medicines can use stem cells to create living and functional tissues to regenerate and repair tissue and organs in the body that are damaged due to age, disease and congenital defects. Stem cells have the power to go to these damaged areas and regenerate new cells and tissues by performing a repair and a renewal process, restoring functionality. Regenerative medicine has the potential to provide a cure to failing or impaired tissues.

While some believe the therapeutic potential of stem cells has been overstated, an analysis of the potential benefits of stem cells based therapies indicates that 128 million people in the United States alone may benefit with the largest impact on patients with Cardiovascular disorders (5.5 million), autoimmune disorders (35 million) and diabetes (16 million US patients and more than 217 million worldwide): US patients with other disorders likely to benefit include osteoporosis (10 million), severe burns (0.3 million),spinal cord injuries (0.25 million).

Source:  M.E. Furph, “Principles of Regenerative Medicine”  (2008)