Stem cell therapy is no stranger to controversy; it’s labeled a miracle cure by many, yet receives a healthy dose of skepticism from researchers and medical professionals alike. But regardless of the noise surrounding it, stem cell treatment has become a powerful form of regenerative medicine in recent years.
Traditionally, stem cell transplants are used to treat certain types of cancer, specifically leukemia, and lymphoma. Even so, stem cell therapy has grown more popular for treating a range of conditions, including autism and multiple sclerosis.
So how exactly can stem cell therapy help? If you’ve exhausted your options and are looking for an alternative to traditional methods, there’s hope yet. While this course of treatment is still in the early stages of research, plenty of YouCaring members have found considerable success with it.
What is Stem Cell Therapy?
Stem cell therapy consists of (you guessed it) newly-generated stem cells. These stem cells typically replace diseased or injured cells damaged due to chemotherapy or disease. Stem cells help strengthen the patient’s immune system and replace defective cells, which contribute to degenerative or blood-related diseases. By growing specialized stem cells in the lab and implanting them into the defective organ or tissue, healthy cells can begin to regenerate, and the body will start to repair itself.
How Effective is Stem Cell Therapy?
There’s plenty of research supporting the effectiveness of stem cell therapy in blood-related or lymphatic diseases, yet there’s little evidence that it works for other conditions. This is mostly due to a lack of research, as there simply hasn’t been enough clinical trials on the benefits of stem cell therapy in diseases like arthritis or cerebral palsy. As a result, many patients have to rely on anecdotal evidence.
What Conditions Does Stem Cell Therapy Treat?
Most stem cell treatments are in their initial stage of research, with the exception of transplants used to treat cancer patients. Currently, the only FDA-approved stem cell-based treatment is for umbilical cord blood-derived stem cells for blood cancers and other disorders.
Thanks to the growing popularity of stem cell treatment, however, patients can find a number of clinics that promise to relieve pain or help regain declining motor skills, all with a single stem cell injection. Hundreds of conditions fall under this umbrella, with promises of curing blood disorders like sickle cell anemia, to autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis.
Where Can I Receive Treatment?
In spite of its lack of government funding, there are hundreds of centers in the US which offer stem cell therapy. Worryingly, some of these clinics are the equivalent of back-alley establishments, with little to no regulation. But don’t let this discourage you. Even if some clinics skirt around FDA approval, there are plenty of reputable centers that have helped thousands of people.
What Are the Possible Risks or Side Effects?
Side effects are a given, no matter your treatment plan. But the risk of stem cell therapy can add an element of surprise (to put it lightly). Because of the lack of clinical studies, published results on possible side effects are hard to find, specifically for treatments in the early stages of research. To date, there are a number of documented cases of stem cell treatment leading to tumors and lesions.
You should look out for:
- Mouth sores
- Rejection of donated cells
Sometimes these side effects are a consequence of additional treatments, especially if the patient is receiving chemotherapy at the same time.
How Much Does Stem Cell Therapy Cost?
The cost of stem cell therapy is dependent on your condition and what’s accepted as the traditional course of treatment. In instances of leukemia or lymphoma, a bone marrow or stem cell transplant is a clinically-proven treatment that has a higher chance of insurance coverage.
When it comes to other diseases and disorders, it becomes much harder to get funding through your health insurance. Many people have to subsequently pay out-of-pocket for stem cell treatment. This doesn’t take into account travel expenses, as many people have to go out of town (or even out of the country) to get the help they need.
How Compassionate Crowdfunding Can Help
For anyone hoping to try stem cell therapy, crowdfunding can be a way to raise money for treatment where health insurance falls short. Crowdfunding allows you to reach out to friends, family — even strangers — and to rally them around your cause.
Starting a fundraiser can help secure funds faster than if you were to go through other channels. That way you can avoid medical loans or being footed with a giant bill that takes years to pay off. While there are several options for crowdfunding, make sure you find the platform with the lowest fees. Other crowdfunding sites take five percent or more of your funds, while YouCaring has no fees.
What YouCaring Members Have Said About Stem Cell Therapy
We’ve seen so much progress [in Finley]! Her energy levels have been substantially heightened. She’s more inquisitive, using a larger vocabulary with her speech, she scratches parts of her body she never did before, she’s differentiating between her toes ‘hurting’ and ‘itching’. I’m so excited to see what the future has in store, and I know walking independently is on the horizon. We will definitely be continuing fundraising with Youcaring for future treatments.”
Fundraiser: Finley’s Miracle Surgery to Get Her Dancing Legs
Since starting this fundraiser, I have had a few people reach out to tell me about their experience and how much it has helped their children. Let’s just say, I cannot wait to get her there! We will be sure to keep sharing her progress after the treatment!”
Fundraiser: Colleen’s Hope Through Stem Cell Therapy