I'm pleased to hear people chatting about
this, it is something quite important to me as I am a post-grad researcher in stem cell medicine, currently doing my PhD. I'll offer my 10 cents if anyone wants it :)
Most arthritis-focused stem cell research at the moment is based on using stem cells to regenerate damaged tissue, like replacing cartilage and bone. OA is the main candidate for this, but it does offer some potential for treating RA (although more in a 'surgical' sense rather than addressing the autoimmune issues). Some kinds of stem cells have been found to have very interesting effects on the immune system, and I think if there is a cure to be found for RA/PsA, then that is where it will lie. Learning how stem cells can change and even disable immune system response could well result in a treatment that "turns off" RA, to put it crudely. To give an example of a REAL stem cell treatment currently being developed, I saw a presentation last week about
a *finger* grown from stem cells for transplant for someone with deformations due to Psoriatic Arthritis. It didn't look like a particularly nice finger, but it certainly had pointing potential.
It's a real concern to me that real, genuine stem cell medicines, as they are gradually made available, will be met with suspicion because of these unregulated treatments, made legal as some countries don't classify a stem-cell treatment as a medicine. Germany had some trouble with this but have since modified their law. Stem cell law in general is horrifically complicated, which doesn't help matters.
Basically, I have to agree with Iglavish and suggest to avoid (like the plague) the stem cell 'treatments' that are currently available. People have died as a result of these treatments, including some young children.
People offering the current treatments are blindly and quite arbitrarily injecting these cells on the guise that stem cells can form any type of tissue and therefore must promote healing and generally be oh-so-good for you.
While stem cells can be made to turn into a large variety of different cell/tissue types, their role in the healing/regeneration process in adult humans isn't well understood. You certainly can't just inject a bunch of them into the brain and expect a cure (or a good chance of survival for that matter... a ten year old boy was critically ill last year after he was injected directly into the brain with a solution of stem cells at a clinic in Germany)
'there's hope' - Sorry to hear you're losing hope, I think there is definitely cause for having lots of hope - at least about
the future of RA and treatments, not that it offers much consolation for now, eh? There are other treatments just around the corner (in FDA terms...... so a few years) - including some potentially great oral treatments that could rival the biologics like Enbrel and Remicade in terms of effectiveness. Have a google of LX2931 if you're interested.
Has anyone had one of these stem cell treatments/therapies/injections? Interested to hear about
any experiences, good or bad!
take care all,
Post Edited (JayBespoke) : 7/25/2011 7:36:18 PM (GMT-6)