Synthetic Stem Cells – Risk or Reward?

Late last year, a synthetic cardiac stem cell was created at the University of North Carolina and the North Carolina State University with the hope that the synthetic cell could offer the same or similar benefits to patients as therapies that use natural stem cells. While researchers behind the project have high hopes for treating heart patients, physicians and patients should proceed with caution and care before delving into the world of synthetic cells. Dr. Johnson explains why natural stem cells have lower risks and greater rewards for treating patients for a myriad of medical conditions.

The use of natural stem cells, like adipose fat stem cells, taken directly from the patient is more favorable that using synthetic stem cells because the risk of rejection is completely eliminated. Synthetic stem cells carry the risk of rejection, as does synthetic or artificial tissues. Using synthetics may also result in dangerous complications. For example, artificial blood products may cause sudden spikes in blood pressure, and cause the blood vessels to constrict. Both of these conditions could lead to heart attack or stroke.

Researchers behind the synthetic stem cell project promote the benefit of using synthetic cells is that they can be preserved for longer periods of time, and are easier to handle than natural stem cells. While it is a fact that natural stem cells must be treated gently, the methods of handling and care utilized at Innovations Stem Cell take the needs of these cells into very seriously. Dr. Johnson also uses innovative technology and cannulas to harvest and redeploy cells.

The process to create the cardiac stem cell involved the development of a cell-mimicking particle. This particle was then treated with an artificial polymer and natural growth factors taken from adult cardiac stem cells that had been cultured in a lab. The synthetic cells, tested in laboratory mice, were shown to attach themselves to injured heart tissue and repair damage, similar to natural stem cells. The difference between the two is that artificially created stem cells cannot replicate, or multiply, like natural stem cells. As a result, patients will require more treatments.

While the fate of synthetic stem cells and their ready use is still in the future, many patients, diseases, injuries, and health conditions are successfully being treated right now with natural stem cells. Dr. Johnson treats patients for joint conditions, such as osteoarthritis, migraines, nerve and neural conditions, spinal injuries and more.

If you have questions about the benefits of using natural stem cells or are wondering if you can benefit from their use, call Dr. Johnson today at (214) 643-8665