|Types of Stem Cell Treatments for Scleroderma|
|Monday, 26 April 2010 14:19|
Scleroderma is a slowly debilitating terminal illness that robs the skin, limbs and vital organs through the process of pain upon exposure to cold and the tightening, thickening and in-elasticity of the skin. Scleroderma deposits connective tissue in places where it should not be. People diagnosed with this disease progressively have trouble moving and their organs slowly shut down.
Stem Cells Work
The recent studies done on stem cells, from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago and the Northwestern Memorial Hospital, have shown promise in the reversal of many diseases, including Scleroderma. The choice of which kind of stem cell to use lies in the hands of the scientists, lab specialists and consumers. There are two major types of stem cells: embryonic stem cells and cord blood stem cells.
Embryonic Stem Cells
Embryonic stem cells are those stem cells that obtained by the "harvesting" of female ova fertilized by male sperm. Embryonic stem cell transplantation involves the injection of these stem cells into a person's body. This process is essentially placing a piece of someone into someone else. It is comparable to blood transfusion, except that blood donors are living.
Cord blood stem cells are those stem cells that are obtained from the blood of the umbilical cord of a baby that has just been born. They are just as effective as embryonic stem cells and companies such as Viacord and Cord Blood Registry tout improvement and healing in persons with numerous conditions.
Stem Cell Transplantation
Stem cell transplantation uses both embryonic stem cells and cord blood stem cells. It is comparable to a bone marrow transplant performed on someone who has leukemia. The standard process is to deplete the immune system and start from scratch. What fuels this process is the idea that taking out the old immune system and replacing it with a new one from stem cell transplantation, reprograms the body to destroy diseases, such as Scleroderma.
Sometimes stem cell transplantation is paired with administering high doses of cyclophosphamide (popularly named Cytoxan) intravenously. Cytoxan is a drug commonly used to treat cancer. Pairing the two processes is called SCOT, which stands for Scleroderma: Cyclophosphamide or Transplantation. It's funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Treatments coming from two avenues--conventional and alternative medicine--seems to have a positive effect of reversing disease.
Cord blood stem cells offer something that embryonic stem cells do not have: hematopoietic cells. Hematopoietic cells are stem cells that form only into any kind of blood cell: red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. Cord blood stem cell infusion and transplantation also reprograms the blood to deliver nutrients and function as normal.
Going Alternative & Payoffs
Some doctors skip the stripping of one's immune system to replace it with another. They simply administer the stem cells straight to the body. Stem cell transplantation involves long visits to the clinic or doctor where the patient is infused by an IV drip. Even though this is time consuming, it still is worth every moment, because it gives life back to the patient.