It is clear that stem cell treatment as an option for diseases and conditions is a pioneering area in medicine as all medical interventions and treatments have been at one time in their evolution. With all the talk about stem cell treatment, I thought I’d check out some of the locations myself while traveling in China and Malaysia.
While in China, I visited a stem cell treatment center that works within several hospitals in China and collaborates with leading physicians associated with a highly respected US hospital. They provide treatment options using stem cells taken from umbilical cord, cord blood or bone marrow. The stem cells will either be injected via a lumbar puncture or a local injection. The doctor determines the type of cells and which combination of injections is the best to treat the patient’s condition or disease.
The most common conditions that they treat at this clinic are cerebral palsy, brain injury, optic nerve damage, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, spinal cord injury and diabetic foot ulcers. Other clinics are developing treatments for cancer, lupus, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
I stopped by one of those centers. On my tour, I found the bustling international floor to be full of both child and adult patients. The place was cheerful with walls chock full of patients’ thank you messages, family banners and artwork. What struck me though was the attitude of the attending doctors. Though I was expecting to receive big promises of radical outcomes, they made no guarantees, no talk of miracles. Rather, we spoke about stem cell treatments in trials worldwide, the results that they had achieved with their patients throughout their centers in China, and the importance of providing patients with balanced information on the risks, and anticipated results and the center’s focus on support from pre through post care.
As I was wandering around the center’s lobby checking out the patient’s artwork, I spontaneously struck up a conversation with a dad who hailed from the southern United States. He told me he and his wife were particularly satisfied with the entire experience they had with their daughter’s stem cell treatment, noting that the center’s care and support was superior. He said they were not given pie in the sky promises, but rather solid information about the stem cell treatment process and the range of likely outcomes. So far, they found there was a measure of noticeable positive change as a result from the stem cell treatment, and hoped for more to come. He added that this was his family’s first trip outside of the US and that they were really enjoying China.
In Malaysia, I visited an international hospital that also works to provide stem cell treatments. The doctors had promising results for their stem cell treatments, but once again talked of the pioneering research and the steps toward improved treatments through stem cells, and the importance of providing realistic information for patients considering stem cell treatments.
In addition to treatment for conditions and diseases mentioned above, they are using stem cells for some cosmetic purposes such as breast enlargement. For this procedure, stem cells from adipose tissue are injected back into the women’s breasts. The process enhances the growth of breast tissue by about one to two cup sizes. This is a procedure that is becoming more popular because of its results and reduced risk.
I was really impressed with these centers in China and Malaysia, the medical teams and the overall importance to provide balanced information to patients seeking care. While too early to call the treatments successful, the results are promising. For patients who are seeking care who have exhausted traditional treatments, stem cell therapy may be an option through centers and hospitals that are carefully selected. With new advancements in stem cell treatment worldwide, this is an area to watch closely!