What is a stem cell ?

Stem cells are cells that can be defined based on two characteristics. First, stem cells can divide themselves to produce many other cells that are fundamentally similar to the same primary cell and have the same basic properties. This feature helps in maintaining the body’s stem cell reservoir. Secondly, stem cells can mature and change into other cells that are responsible for performing specific functions, such as heart muscle cells, nerves and skin. This feature happens due to the need to replace worn or dead cells with young cells which have special functions.

What is cell therapy? 

Cell therapy is the transplantation of a living cell from one person to another in order to regenerate body tissues. Cells are robust plants that can exert specific therapeutic effects through a variety of methods. Cells can move to any areas in the body that has been damaged, secrete growth stimulants, and in some cases turn into other cells. Furthermore, this unique adaptability makes cell therapy a powerful method which can provide a high chance of treating irreversible diseases.

Several types of stem cells can be classified into three main categories.

Embryonic stem cells (ESCs): These cells exist only in the early stages of development in the fetal body.

Adult stem cells: These cells, also called somatic stem cells and are found in various tissues of the adult human body and the blood of the newborn’s umbilical cord.

Mesenchymal Stem Cells with multiple capabilities:  These cells are produced by the use of some methods in the laboratory environment. They have the characteristics of embryonic stem cells, but the main difference is that instead of embryos, they can be produced from differentiated cells, such as skin cells.

Currently, only adult stem cells and umbilical cord blood stem cells have the medical legitimacy to be used for treatments.

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Since the main job and function of stem cells is to replace old and diseased cells with new ones naturally, scientists began thinking that using stem cells can significantly help with the treatment process of patients.   It is believed that by giving stem cells or altered and branched cells, which are originated from the stem cells to the patient, they can use their innate power to heal and restore the patient’s health. For example, if a patient has experienced a heart attack, the treatment goal would be to transplant stem cells to the sick person so to repair the damaged heart by the natural function of the transplanted cells. The patient’s stem cells have a limited ability to repair damages and injuries to the cells or other areas of the body.

 It is important to note that the heart’s stem cells are not much able to repair the damaged heart; however, transplanting millions of stem cells is much more effective in the healing process. Therefore, by transplanting stem cells to patients, we strengthen the body’s power to repair itself more quickly and effectively and heal the damaged cells rather than to tackle any damages only through existence cells.

Because the number of stem cells in most tissues is minimal and usually damages to the cells in the patient’s body are extensive, a large number of stem cells are needed.  Therefore, in some treatment methods, it is necessary to increase the number of stem cells using culture methods and then use them. For example, in bone and cartilage diseases, the stem cell that is used is called a mesenchymal stem cell. Interestingly, the number of bone marrow samples is only one cell in a thousand or one hundred thousand cells; therefore, cells are needed to be cultured before transplantation.

The first cell therapy was performed about 80 years ago. In 1931, a Swiss physician named Dr Nyahans used bovine tissue transplantation to treat a disease in which he accidentally lost his parathyroid gland during thyroid surgery.

In 1959, the first unsuccessful bone marrow transplant was performed, though the first successful bone marrow transplant was performed in 1969. In 1970, corneal margin stem cells were used in corneal transplantation, and in 1979, stem cells were used to treat osteoarthritis. Based on the current data, in the last 15 years, 30 million cell therapies have been performed worldwide. So far, 19 cell therapy and gene therapy products have been approved by the US FDA. Skin diseases, including orthopedics, eye and prostate cancer, each one confirmed and other products are related to leukemia.

According to studies, the process of extracting the cells usually begins with taking a sample from tissues in the body that generally have the ability to regenerate lesions. Based on the studies that have been conducted, most of the tissues that are used for sampling area are taken from the skin, bone marrow, peripheral blood and body fat, because the number of cells which exits, is beneficial for treating skin lesions, orthopedics or heart disease.

Based on the research that has been performed, after preparation, the patient’s cells are suspended in the solution, which are produced under sterile conditions and depending on the type of lesion and its location in the injection process, they are transferred to a proper place in the body. This process in skin problems is performed through subcutaneous injection at the site of the lesion, in patients with osteoarthritis at the knee, and in heart disease, it is done using angiocath method into the heart.

According to studies, after the injection of targeted cells, the signs of recovery slowly begin to show over three months, and it increases for up to a year until the recovery rate reaches its maximum. This level of effectiveness will last for a long time in vitiligo disease and skin diseases and osteoarthritis of the knee for 3 to 5 years.

Although no treatment method is one hundred per cent safe, so far, no signs of any complications involving cell therapy have been observed. The reason for this positive result is because cells are obtained from the patient, and therefore there will be no rejection in the transplantation process or facing any problems with the immune system.

At present, this procedure can only be performed in centres that are licensed to perform such procedures, and are provided with specialist physicians who have received the necessary training. To check the list of centres that have a partnership with Celltech Pharmed-Stem Cell Company, please refer to the Contact Us section.

Platelets are small objects made from the fragmentation of cytoplasm of large cells called megakaryocytes in the bone marrow, which will not be differentiated into any other cellular category. Because platelets lack nuclei, they are non-cellular and are not called cells.

 As a result, they are not considered to be stem cells. PRPs are biological products containing blood platelets which are used to repair chronic wounds and administered for rejuvenation or diseases related to arthritis. There is a considerable difference between cell therapy and (PRP) because platelets have a half-life of about 7 to 10 days in the blood, which is significantly reduced after injection. Platelets can only temporarily stimulate the growth of cells in the affected areas by secreting growth factors, and usually, they