What is stem cell therapy?
Stem cell therapy research (SCR), in the last decade, has shown great potential for clinical applications and the treatment of a number of incurable diseases.
To explain it in simple terms rather than going into explicit medical details, the stem cell is basically an undeveloped or “immature” cell having the capacity to mimic any mature stem cell, categorized into embryonic stem cells, adult stem cells and cord blood stem cells.
What is embryonic stem cell therapy?
Again, without going into too many medical intricacies, the embryonic stem cell is considered to be the “mother” of all other cell types in the human body. Why it is called so, is because it is harvested from the human embryo at an early stage, scientifically known as “blastocyst,” and has the ability to proliferate.
The blastocyst has an outer layer made of cells collectively termed trophoblast. The inner part of the blastocyst, better known as the inner cell mass (ICM), is a fluid-filled cavity referred to as the blastocoele. The ICM is characteristically pluripotent, capable of giving rise to certain other cell types.
Dr. Geeta and her work on embryonic cell therapy:
Dr. Geeta Shroff, considered to be a specialist in this field, started her research about fifteen years ago. This was the time when other scientists the world over were still trying to understand the health benefits of the human stem-cell technology.
Dr. Geeta Shroff of India, founder, and director of Nutech Mediworld had said in an IANS interview, “I have been working in this field for over 15 years. Of these, 13 years have been spent in the clinical application also. As a doctor, it is very satisfying to see improvements in the condition of your patient. However, since cell-based therapy is a very new field, greater education of the masses is required.”
She is the first person in the world to have developed an infinite number of embryonic cell lines from a single embryo, thereby disproving the allegations that the research involved the destruction of multiple embryos for the therapy.
According to Dr. Geeta, “This technology does not require the administration of immunosuppressants. The ready to use form can be stored for more than six months and can be transported easily under temperature controlled conditions.”
“It is our mission to see human embryonic stem cell therapy as the first line of treatment for many of mankind’s worst afflictions. Our technology has been patented in 66 countries including the US, Singapore, Australia, Japan, and Korea,” she added.
In her clinical trials, she is known to have used the embryonic stem cell therapy on a number of patients, not only from India but from all over the world and all of them showed different levels of improvement.
Some of the diseases she has treated with different levels of success include Diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, spinal cord injury (SCI), Multiple Sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis( ALS), complications caused by chronic Lyme disease, cerebral palsy, autism, etc.
Dramatic results have been seen in patients as young as 16 years with SCI, like regaining bladder control and function in their legs, reversals in neurodegenerative disease patients with brain lesions, and gradual reduction in the requirement for insulin in diabetics; some diabetics are known to have become completely independent of all diabetes medications.
According to a research by Laurance Johnston, Ph.D., “Shroff’s ESCs use is allowed under Indian stem-cell guidelines if the condition or disorder is considered incurable. Given the snail-pace development of real-world stem-cell therapies in the U.S., these are insightful guidelines.
Although the U.S.s’ conservative regulatory approach theoretically ensures safety and efficacy, it also creates hard-to-surmount barriers that inhibit the introduction of helpful therapies, especially for a disorder like SCI with a limited economic market.”
The Senate passed the first bill, 63-37, which would have made it legal for the Federal government to spend Federal money on embryonic stem cell research that uses embryos left over from in-vitro fertilization procedures. On July 19, 2006, President Bush vetoed this bill.
By executive order on March 9, 2009, President Barack Obama removed certain restrictions on federal funding for research involving new lines of human embryonic stem cells.
In 2011, a United States District Court “threw out a lawsuit that challenged the use of federal funds for embryonic stem cell research.”
The purpose of this article was to provide a brief insight on embryonic stem cell technology, but more importantly, it is a tribute to Dr. Geeta Shroff and the contributions made by her in this field. However, detailed information on embryonic stem cell technology is available on numerous medical websites which one can refer to.