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What Are Stem Cells?
As I mentioned in the preface of this book, right before our eyes we are experiencing a form of "disruptive" technology and therapy in regenerative medicine like never before. But before we learn about this disruptive technology involving adult stem cells, their unique functions, the multiple areas of the body they can help repair and/or rebuild, and all the miraculous results that come from the various stem cell treatments and therapies available, I need to make a quick statement to clarify my position on the use of embryonic stem cells extracted from aborted unborn fetuses.
Embryonic stem cell treatment or therapy (different than cord stem cells that have been extracted from the umbilical cord after the birth of a child) has been a huge, controversial topic for many people for many years.
I have always believed that bioethics must be taken into consideration and even challenged whenever science and medicine begin tampering with the human body for research or any noble cause. New scientific findings and medical technological advancements with cutting-edge treatments when dealing with the human body have (and probably always will) aroused suspicion, doubt, and certainly controversy, and I believe that's as it should be. Embryonic stem cell treatment and therapy where the stem cells have been extracted from aborted fetuses is no different.
So as one who embraces the sanctity of life, it would be a major conflict of my belief and conscientiousness to accept the medical procedure of terminating (murdering/killing) a fetus for the sake of science and medical advancement. Since I come into agreement with the medical research that supports life beginning upon conception, that precious fetus is, to me, a human life. This creation of life living within the womb of its mother is deserving of protection, equal human rights, and is entitled to the opportunity of growing up into an adult.
I therefore cannot support nor justify the usage of aborted fetus embryonic stem cells. This part of stem cell research and treatment is unacceptable for the sake of improving mankind's state of health or scientific and medical advancements, despite the nobility of intent.
In my humble opinion, the acceptable standard should not be determined by scientific and medical data or intent alone but should ultimately be determined by the standard of the highest judge — the Creator of the fetus!
The History of Stem Cell Research
Just read a sports magazine such as Sports Illustrated or a science magazine such as Discover, or print advertisements or even TV specials, and it won't be long until the topic of stem cell therapy and treatments appears.
It is becoming commonplace to read about world-class professional athletes who are turning to stem cell and/or PRP (platelet-rich plasma) treatments as the new norm for healing and repairing of injuries instead of conventional medicine. But stem cell therapy is not just for the elite.
Everyday people are also taking full advantage of these latest cutting-edge medical treatments — people who have been involved in auto accidents and suffer from spinal and joint injuries, or people who suffer from chronic pain, degenerative illnesses, and multiple health issues. Even people like myself who have benefited from several of these disruptive treatments and therapies have discovered this new norm as a better and more efficacious means of practicing regenerative medicine.
We can go back as far as the mid-1800s to see where stem cell research began. At that time research taught us that certain cells had the capability to differentiate or change into other cells. Unfortunately, it was the early stages of stem cell research, when embryonic stem cells were extracted from the termination of unborn fetuses, that got all the bad press — and rightfully so.
I'm sure if you, like most people, have heard anything about stem cell therapy and research, you most likely have associated aborted fetuses to this breakthrough in regenerative medicine. Like many, you were probably in total opposition to anything that had to with stem cell therapy.
But many who have followed its progression over the years have found out that stem cell therapy and research has made some very amazing strides. As continued research and scientific discoveries have been made, we have found out that stem cell therapy and treatments are available in multiple applications — and, the great news is, without using stem cells from terminated unborn fetuses. Allow me to move us along with this understanding and show when and where things have advanced in this disruptive therapy in regenerative medicine since the beginning of its journey.
In the early 1900s, attempts were made to fertilize mammalian eggs outside of the human body, where the discovery was made that some cells had the capacity to generate blood cells. Later, around 1968, the first successful bone marrow transplant was performed. The following are several milestones in stem cell research:
1978 — Discovery of stem cells in human cord blood
1981 — Development of first in vitro stem cell line from mice
1988 — Creation of embryonic stem cell lines from a hamster
1995 — Researchers derive embryonic stem cell line from a primate
1997 — Lamb cloned from stem cells
1997 — Leukemia origin found as hematopoietic stem cells indicating possible proof of cancer stem cells
1999–2000 — Scientists produce different stem cells in mice, leading to the discovery that cells from bone marrow can produce liver or nerve cells and even the brain can produce other cells.
2005 — Scientists discover that the umbilical cord has unique stem cells referred to as embryonic-like stem cells. All this leads to greatest heights for cell-based therapies.
2007 — Scientists discover a new stem cell in amniotic fluid which eventually proves to be a viable alternative to embryonic stem cells.
As we see the history of stem cell therapy, treatment, and research abound and advance through the years, there are also many new discoveries and multiple types of treatments becoming the new norm. With any new treatments and applications should come safety policies and standards.
Where Is Stem Cell Technology Today?
There is no doubt that stem cell therapies and treatments are continually advancing. I say "advancing" because I do not see it slowing down anytime soon. Based on my professional associations with stem cell physicians and scientists and from their experiences and new gained knowledge, it is obvious that stem cell treatments will be here well into the future.
Stem cell therapy is being used to treat many more health conditions today than back in the day of its infancy. From my own personal experiences as a stem cell patient and advocate, I see it becoming the treatment of choice in regenerative and orthopedic medicine as well as in the treatment of many degenerative diseases.
Today, stem cell therapies have advanced to such levels that they can be implemented to treat crippling and debilitating conditions such as spinal cord injuries, kidney disease, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and orthopedic and musculoskeletal conditions.
Speaking of orthopedic medicine, I dare to make the claim that eventually stem cell therapy is going to be the new norm in orthopedic medicine! Let me explain why I call this daring. Even in our current day and time, should you have an inflamed and painful knee, your physician's prognosis is not going to be all that hopeful and will certainly be limited to what can be accomplished. Typically you would be given prescriptions that cover a multiplicity of treatments: anti-inflammatories, painkillers, some physical therapy, and perhaps chiropractic work. That is just to treat your painful symptoms. But you and I know the outcome of that medical process — over time you would experience no improvement, less mobility, more pain, continual swelling, and life would become more challenging.
And worse, should your diagnosis be a bone-on-bone scenario (meaning your joint has degenerated to the point that bone is rubbing against bone), then you would be left with absolutely no alternative treatments, no options but to get a second opinion if you so decided to choose one. After all that, a prognosis for knee replacement surgery would be handed down to you — until now!
Today's stem cell treatments are so advanced that in a few hours as an outpatient, you can have a minimally invasive procedure done by simply injecting your own stem cells into the knee joint. It may take only one or possibly several treatments, but over time the knee will begin growing back new cartilage. That bone-on-bone death sentence will become last night's news, and you will get a whole new grip on living life to its fullest.
Worldwide Stem Cell Research
Just a few brief words about stem cell research throughout the world.
Many countries throughout the world have and are conducting stem cell research. Some of them are the United States, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Canada, Australia, Austria, and South Korea.
Governing policies and laws per individual country can vary. For example, countries like Canada seem to be more flexible in the field of stem cell research. Whereas the European Union does not fund research that results in embryonic destruction, the United States funds embryonic stem cell research, though the funds are limited.
Each country with its different political, governmental laws and ethical standards can positively affect the other countries as this field of adult stem cell research continues to prove its efficacious results and therapeutic potential.
What Are Stem Cells?
Maybe you've heard of stem cells on television but you aren't sure what they are or the role they play with regards to your overall health and state of well-being. If so, don't be discouraged. My goal here is to present this highly scientific and medically advanced topic using a nonscientific approach so as to make this topic more palatable.
Let's start with understanding our cells. A cell is a unit of life that is basic in function and structure. Did you know that you and I are made up of trillions of these little guys? From a more scientific and cellular perspective, you and I would be considered "multicellular." Our total existence is dependent upon our cells, whether we need energy to carry out simple daily tasks and recreational activities or more strenuous activities such as sports or heavy physical workloads like construction work. Also, don't forget about the assimilating and digesting of nutrients from the food and beverages we consume. This multitrillion-cell network is directly correlated to everything we do in life. Keeping the cells healthy and functioning is key to everyone's overall health, youthfulness, and quality of life.
There are more than two hundred different cell types in the human body, each with specialized and very different functions. But there is a special group of cells in the body that come from a simpler type of cell that is not specialized. These unspecialized cells are the stem cells. They are basically cells that don't yet have a specific job in the body. Stem cells are unspecialized, meaning they can reproduce themselves by dividing and under the right conditions are able to become cells with specialized jobs, such as nerve, kidney, or heart stem cells. To put it another way, stem cells have two interesting characteristics:
Adult stem cells can replicate or multiply themselves. This replication factor contributes to enhancing their ability for rapid healing and recovery.
Stem cells can turn into or become other types of cells, such as pancreas or liver cells, in which case they would take on the specific functions of pancreas cells or liver cells. This amazing phenomenon occurs after the stem cell divides during the first few days of life.
In the early embryo development stages, a cluster of less than fifty cells multiply into hundreds of uniquely specialized cells and assume the roles they play in nature's normal preparation process for adult life, survival, and existence. As the fetus grows, some stem cells become skin, some become heart tissue, and others become the rest of the organs. Eventually, these embryonic stem cells disappear. An adult body no longer contains cells that can generate any kind of cell — at least not in the natural course of life. (Through research, scientists have learned how to cause adult stem cells to become other types of cells, and that's what this book is about.)
But after the embryonic stem cells disappear, other types of stem cells remain in the body. Some of these adult stem cells will eventually be destroyed by illness, injuries, and even the aging process.
Yes, our adult stem cells are vulnerable to the aging process. Unfortunately, as we age, the production of our stem cells diminishes. Our stem cells are usually created and distributed from our bone marrow, but over time the marrow production decreases and it no longer releases as many stem cells as it once did. This reduction in systemic circulation of stem cells throughout our body is the main reason nagging injuries and illnesses take much longer to heal. It is not just because we are getting older, but rather a combination of the aging process, exposure to environmental toxins, injuries, disease, and other negative factors that is the culprit. The reality is, having fewer stem cells in our bodies means fewer cells are available for repairing and rejuvenating our bodies naturally. (Later, in section 2, you will learn how the adult stem activators come to the rescue and rejuvenate and repair certain types of stem cells that are destroyed through injury, disease, or age.)
Stem Cells 101
One of the most interesting and fascinating phenomena about the human body is that every human being on planet Earth — regardless of our genetic and physiological differences, age, gender, race, creed, religion, or socioeconomic status — has adult stem cells. These stem cells were given to us at birth and are a part of our genetic makeup.
The most simplified and basic job description that I could give you is that stem cells are the body's cellular remodeling and repair crew. Adult stem cells repair damaged cells naturally to best support life, provide optimum health, and counterpunch diseases for every man and woman.
There are many varieties of stem cells serving different purposes in your body's hugely complex system to keep us healthy, resilient, and able to survive. Here is a quick list of several types of stem cells and related terminology so you can get better acquainted with the topic.
Stem cells — Cells that can divide and self-renew for an indefinite period to differentiate into specialized cells. Stem cells are found in bone marrow, blood, and adipose tissue (body fat). The greatest number of stem cells, by the millions, are found in adipose or fat tissue.
Adult stem cells — Also referred to as somatic cells; adult stem cells include any stem cell other than an egg or sperm cell in the female or male, respectively. Somatic stem cells are an increasingly used source of stem cells derived from adult tissues such as bone marrow, blood, fat, and other organs. Less potent than embryonic stem cells, somatic cells have a more limited number of cell types into which they can differentiate.
Embryonic stem cells — Stem cells capable of dividing for a long period of time without differentiation. These stem cells are derived from preimplantation embryos and have been the subject of much debate in medical bioethics. Due to their primitive (undifferentiated) nature, they can lead to the creation of many cell types, which may cause problems if implanted in living tissue without careful control. Embryonic stem cell use is very controversial in many religious, societal, and cultural circles, and I do not condone this practice.
Cord blood stem cells — Stem cells present in the umbilical cord blood that can be collected after birth and stored for later use in therapeutic treatment. Cord blood stem cells are hematopoietic (they can produce blood cells) and are commonly used to treat cancer patients who have undergone chemotherapy. Hematopoietic stem cells form the red and white blood cells and platelets, and they are found in bone marrow and umbilical cord blood.
Mesenchymal stem cells — The current, somewhat general term for non-blood somatic (adult) stem cells from a variety of tissues in the body.
Autologous transfer — Transfer of adult stem cells to a different location in the same person. The transplant of stem cells to different areas of the same body carries little risk of the resulting tissue being rejected.
Excerpted from "Stem Cell Revolution"
Copyright © 2018 Joseph Christiano.
Excerpted by permission of Charisma House Book Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Preface: The Game Changer xv
Section I Adult Stem Cells-Disruptive Technology
1 What Are Stem Cells? 1
2 Adult Stem Cell Therapy Options 17
3 PRP-A Disruptive Therapy 63
Section II Adult Stem Cell Activation
4 Activating Damaged Adult Stem Cells 81
5 The Science Behind Adult Stem Cell Activators 97
6 Targeted Adult Stem Cell Activators 107
Section III Healthy Living
7 The Right Attitude for Change 133
8 The Nutritional Base-Food 143
9 Supplements 153
10 Antiaging 159
11 The Detox 173
12 Stress and Relaxation 181
Conclusion: The Final Word 187
What People are Saying About This
Ethical, adult stem cell research has produced some sixty-seven medical miracles. —Vice President Mike Pence