Transplantation of adult stem cells for therapeutic purposes is not a new concept. In fact, the first transplantation of bone marrow cells took place in 1968. What is relatively new is the expansion of this therapy to various other disease processes and pathologies over the past two decades. In this regard, the phrase ‘Regenerative Medicine' has been coined to signify collectively the various approaches toward restoring the form and function of organs and tissues that are affected by disease processes.
The enthusiasm for such regenerative therapies has been tremendous. Many different types of stem cells have been tried in preclinical animal models of various diseases, and several human trials have also been completed, albeit with mixed results. A careful review of these clinical trials reveals the fact that nearly all of these human trials completed to date actually used adult stem cells.
Although these studies continue to indicate that therapy with adult stem cells may impart functional and/or structural benefits to the diseased organs/tissues, raging controversy about data continue to plague the field. Interestingly, as the vigorous autopsy of previous trial data continue to interest the global audience, no trial to date has definitively shown that adult stem cell therapy actually causes significant harm.
Given these controversies not only about the trial data, but also about the choice of stem cells, it is important to understand the literature and the plethora of available information. From a patient's perspective, it is important to know the outcomes of clinical trials as well as some of the basic or preclinical data that support this therapy in humans. The relevant sections in this website attempt to provide such information from scientifically sound and unbiased point of view.