In the near future, it has been estimated that almost 150 million people across the world will be suffering from neurological disorders! Moreover, the healthcare industry will experience exponential growth within the next five years in a number of people suffering from other metabolic disorders like diabetes mellitus, liver disorders, etc. Although, these illnesses are currently orphan without any definitive treatment options available; stem cell therapy has laid a solid foundation for stopping the degenerative progression of the tissue and restoring functional loss to some extent.
At the same time, there has been a drastic change in our understanding related to the science of stem cell therapy and its effective treatment outcome. In the initial period, stem cell therapy has been considered as a taboo; whereas in today’s world it is the future of the medicine. That is the only reason, along with researchers and medical professionals, even common man also has started to direct his attention towards the upcoming research in the science of regenerative medicine and how he or his loved one can be benefitted with the help of stem cell therapy! However, along with being informative about how stem cells can be effective in particular diseased conditions, it is also very crucial for every person to understand some of the important nitty gritty, before actually opting for the stem cell therapy; which may include detailed information about the therapy and the science behind it!
Accordingly, five important points that you need to consider before opting for stem cell therapy are being mentioned herewith:
- What is stem cell therapy and what information do I need to have before stem cell treatment?
Stem cells are the naïve cells of the body that are also being commonly considered as the mother cells. As the name suggests these cells are the producer cells, responsible for creating the entire cellular make-up of the human body; especially while the fetus is being developed in the mother’s womb. This extraordinary potential of stem cells has been exploited by the science of regenerative medicine for therapeutic applications. Studies have confirmed that stem cells are the basis of each diseased condition. The mother nature has given them authority to regenerate deteriorating tissues and keep the functional attributes of the body get going. Accordingly, your stem cell therapy provider should have all the information related to what is the upcoming development related to the same. He needs to have apt answers for the questions like:
- How the treatment can be tailored for the specific diseased condition?
- Is there any proof of concept associated with stem cell therapy for the present condition or we are just working on the theoretical module?
- What alternative options I can consider for myself, other than stem cell therapy?
- How is the stem cell procedure accomplished?
- Is there any scientific evidence or oversight for treating the particular disorder with stem cells?
There has always been a very well-established pathway for the scientific discovery to be used in routine practice; which we called as from bench to bedside! No therapy can be implemented without a critical evaluation, and the process involves testing new therapeutic module with a series of interventions to assess the safety as well as feasibility behind the same. There is a definitive path for launching any new therapy as per regulatory authorities that involves extensive research for understanding molecular as well as cellular basis behind the concept in the laboratory, preclinical analysis on animal of similar species to evaluate the rationale behind the concept and assess initial toxicological studies; and finally clinical evaluation on patients to confirm its effectiveness, safety as well as feasibility. In a similar manner, the science of stem cells has also been transformed to become medicine; what all you need to know is ask for relevant clinical studies for the particular disease you wish to opt for stem cell therapy. You can also ask your service provider about the facility, wherein your stem cells will be processed, and look for the independent oversight or accreditation of the clinic or the facility.
The facility should always be run by the expert scientific professionals, who have been trained to work in the aseptic environment. If possible, you should meet those scientists and try to understand the science behind stem cell therapy. Also, you can check how the cells are being processed and what quality control measures are being taken to optimize their quality, quantity as well as viability. This is an important consideration because there has been an upsurge in the sudden establishment of clinics that are offering stem cell therapy without any scientific background.
- What safety, as well as emergency, measures your stem cell therapy provider has adopted?
The safety, as well as emergency measures, are second important factors, you need to focus on. It is always better to know possible procedural risks and associated side effects, both immediate as well as long term. It is always better to cross check, whether the clinic chosen by you can adequately handle sudden emergencies or not.
- What are the rights of the patients before stem cell treatment?
As a person undergoing stem cell therapy, you always have a right of confidentiality, right of knowing more about stem cell therapy including risks associated with it, right to be safe in case of emergencies, and right to withdraw from the treatment process.
- What is the cost?
This is another crucial factor that needs your attention. It is always better to plan your therapy by knowing the exact cost of the treatment and what shall it include.