Stem Cell Therapy
What is stem cell therapy? First it is important to understand what stem cells are.
Stem cells are a class of undifferentiated cells that are able to differentiate into specialized cell types. Commonly, stem cells come from two main sources:
- Embryos formed during the blastocyst phase of embryological development (embryonic stem cells) and
- Adult tissue (adult stem cells).
Both types are generally characterized by their potency, or potential to differentiate into different cell types (such as skin, muscle, bone, etc.) In adult organisms, stem cells act as a repair system for the body, replenishing adult tissues.
STEM CELL THERAPY
At Encompass Healthcare, stem cell therapy is an option used only when other healing-inhibiting factors are ruled out: the possibility of infection must be addressed, the possibility of blood flow must be optimized and immobilization must be secure. After these potential problems are ruled out, stem cell therapy can then be considered as a viable option.
Stem cell therapy is used to treat refractory (repetitive) wounds that have not healed or that have become so severe that healing is not occurring at an acceptable rate.
Stem cells work because they are what is called “mesenchymal” which means that the cells are able to develop into the tissues of the lymphatic and circulatory systems, as well as connective tissues throughout the body, like bone and cartilage. They are able to be integrated into the body as if they were originally “part of” that patient’s body.
In our patients’ cases, we want these cells to turn into skin. Stem cells are used to grow new skin where there was no skin due to deep-seated wounds, ulcers and the like.
It is important to know that the stem cell manufacturers have all registered with the FDA as tissue establishments and they must be accredited by the American Association of Tissue Banks in order to be validated as credible sources. Our standard of care demands that these accreditations are met.
It is also important to remember that stem cell therapy is typically adjunctive or additional management to a complete holistic clinical pathway to healing your wound and should not be thought of as a single step treatment option for any wound. Full assessment of potential, contributing non-healing factors are always looked at before stem cell therapy is offered.
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