In January 2017, an article was published in JAMA (The Promise of Palliative Care – Translating Clinical Trials to Clinical Care) which, in our opinion, summarises the situation of the clinical use of stem cells extremely well.
It begins by referring to the possible sources of stem cells: embryonic, adult and induced, the latter known as iPS cells.
Stem cells clinical use
It continues by saying that stem cells have many clinical applications, especially stem cells from bone marrow; these are used particularly in haematological diseases, but also in bone fractures, retinal diseases, spinal cord injuries, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease, and in myocardial infarction, although many of these treatments are still in the experimental phase.
While stem cells might sooner or later help to treat many patients, they can also have negative side effects if not used correctly, as these cells can emigrate to other parts of the body and create problems, as well as causing tumors.
Finally, the authors refer to the proliferation of clinics offering stem cell treatments, warning that many of these do not meet the necessary quality requirements, since they are not supervised by the health control agencies of the different countries and, as such, they offer the possibility of remarkable cures that are not yet medically proven. Cosmetic treatments and treatments for arthritis and autism are particularly sought after.
See our Special Report about this matter.
The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.