What are Stem Cells?
Stem cells have the ability to transform into many different cell types in the body. They can potentially divide without limit to replenish other cells as long as the person or animal is still alive. When a stem cell divides, each new cell has the potential to either remain a stem cell or become another type of cell with a more specialized function, such as a lung cell, muscle cell, a red blood cell, or a brain cell. There are some supplement companies that have taken advantage of the publicized stem cell research and now market oral pills that they claim work in a similar way as actual stem cells. This page discusses some potential benefits of actual scientific stem cell research and also mentions how to be careful regarding claims of benefit of stem cell supplements.
Stem Cells For CNS
Stem cells harvested from the brains of mice can restore some walking ability in laboratory rats with spinal-cord damage. The findings are the latest success in rodent experiments to improve movement using a type of stem cell -- an immature cell that can turn into different cells and tissues. Researchers hope to eventually test stem cell therapies in people who are paralyzed to help them walk again. Scientists took cells known as neural precursor cells, a type of stem cell that has started turning into a central nervous system cell, from mouse brains. The researchers injected the cells into rats that could no longer walk after their spines were crushed, and gave them immune-suppressing drugs to prevent rejection.
Stem Cells for Heart
For the first time, researchers have shown that intracoronary transplantation of autologous bone marrow-derived mononuclear cells (BMMCs) can safely improve cardiac function in patients with end-stage heart failure. Findings from an animal study have suggested that this form of stem cell therapy improves cardiac function by repairing damaged myocardium. Data on the benefits of this treatment in humans, however, was lacking. Am J Cardiol 2006;98:597-602.
Stem cells for Crohn's
May 2007 - The findings of a phase II study show that the injection of adipose-derived stem cells into complex perianal fistulas related to cryptoglandular disease or Crohn's disease resulted in healing in 71% of patients. In contrast, healing occurred in only 16% of patients treated with standard therapy using fibrin glue. See this link for natural medicine research on Crohn's disease.
Fat Stem Cell turns into
Stem cells taken from human fat can be transformed into smooth muscle cells, offering a way to treat many kinds of heart disease, gastrointestinal and bladder ills.
Allogenic stem cell
transplantation side effect
More than one third of children and adolescents who undergo allogenic stem cell transplantation have thinning of their bones, which in some cases leads to crushed vertebrae in the back. Allogeneic stem cell transplantation is used to treat leukemia and other cancerous and non-cancerous conditions. Allogeneic means that the cells from a closely matched donor are removed and implanted in the patient. The goal of therapy is typically to replace diseased cells of the bone marrow with functioning cells from another person.
Stem Cell Enhancer, do they work?
Q. Dr. Sahelian, Stem Tech Health Sciences, Inc. has developed, studied and patented the very first adult stem cell enhancer, StemEnhance. StemEnhance is a breakthrough, natural botanical extract that supports wellness by helping your body maintain healthy stem cell physiology. It is the very first product on the market from the latest phytoceutical product category called “stem cell enhancers” and introduced on November 1, 2005. Clinical studies show a boost in adult stem cells in circulation of 25% to 30%. The implications for your health and wellness are profound.
A. I would need to see published studies regarding this stem cell enhancer product before coming to any conclusions. I admit I am skeptical at this time until I see solid evidence.
Questionable product claimed to "enhance" stem cell activity. - from
quackwatch web site
Four former Cell Tech executives have launched a multilevel marketing company whose flagship product is an alleged "stem cell enhancer" extracted from blue-green algae. The company claims that (a) circulating stem cells repair body tissues as needed, (b) stem cell circulation tends to decrease as people get older, (c) the product (which costs $60 to $120 per month) releases stem cells from from bone marrow, and (d) the cells then circulate where they are needed and replace dysfunctional cells. A few studies-most done in laboratory animals-have shown that circulating stem cells from bone marrow can develop into a few other types of mature cells. However, no study has demonstrated that increasing the number of circulating cells is safe or makes people healthier. MLM Watch has a skeptical report.
Stem Cell Therapy and Bone Loss
A type of stem cell therapy called hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) often leads to a reduction in bone formation in children. HCT is used to treat cancers of the blood such as leukemia. The proportion of children with osteopenia -- a bone-thinning condition just short of osteoporosis -- increases 1 year after HCT. The absolute loss of bone mineral corresponds to a 5 percent reduction in bone mineral density at the lumbar spine The level of osteocalcin, a blood marker of bone formation, may be predictive of recovery from the initial bone loss.
Stem Cell Research
Scientists at a laboratory affiliated with the University of Wisconsin-Madison have developed a stem-cell culture medium free of animal cells and used it to derive two new human embryonic stem-cell lines.
The new work, reported in the journal Nature Biotechnology in January 2006, is a crucial step in stem-cell research because it will allow growth of these cells without using animal products that can harbor viruses and other potential sources of problems.
U.S. researchers said in April, 2006 they had transformed immature cells from men's testicles into powerful stem cells, which they then coaxed into becoming nerve, heart and bone cells. Their work has not been assessed by standard peer-review processes, but was presented at a meeting of stem cell researchers in Valencia, Spain.
New York's Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg has made a $100 million donation toward stem cell research in the latest quiet move against his own party's policies. The self-made billionaire made the anonymous donation to his old school, Johns Hopkins University, where he is a former board chairman. A substantial part of the donation will be used to fund stem cell research
Politics of Stem Cell Research
The emotional debate over embryonic stem-cell research has sharply split the Republican Party and could become a prominent 2006 election-year issue, with key U.S. Senate races in Missouri and Maryland emerging as early battlegrounds. The Republican rift pits religious conservatives and abortion foes who oppose the research on moral grounds against supporters who tout its potential benefits in fighting diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
Q. From your knowledge of Super Blue Green Algae, you are no doubt familiar with Christian Drapeau, one of the world’s leading experts on AFA. Are you aware Mr. Drapeau recently started his own company, Stem Tech Health Sciences, Inc., with a patented extract of AFA, called StemEnhance TM that is the world’s first natural Stem Cell Enhancer? StemEnhance TM is a new, all natural botanical formula that has shown in clinical trials to release millions of your own bone marrow stem cells within an hour of consumption. We like to ask people one question: If you knew that stem cells are the only renewal system in your body, would you want to know how to naturally increase your stem cells? Not only can adult stem cells have the ability of becoming virtually any kind of cell in the body, but simply supporting the release of your own stem cells may be the best way to tap into the promise of stem cells. In a testimonial to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), stem cell expert, Dr. David Prentice of Georgetown University Medical Center wrote that adult stem cells “have significant capabilities for growth, repair and regeneration of damaged cells and tissues in the body, akin to a built-in repair kit or maintenance crew that only needs activation and stimulation to accomplish repair of damage. […] direct stimulation of endogenous stem cells may be the easiest, safest, and most efficient way to stimulate tissue regeneration.” The New England Journal of Medicine (Sept 8.2005) published a study reporting that the number of stem cells circulating in the bloodstream was one of the best indicators of cardiovascular health. The higher the number of stem cells in the bloodstream the greater the cardiovascular health. In clinical trials, StemEnhance TM has shown to support an increased release of stem cells up to 30%, or 3 to 4 million additional cells, greatly increasing the potential of the body’s active repair and renewal system each time two capsules are consumed. Other benefits of StemEnhance TM include: a strong antiflammatory response, increased mental focus and clarity, mood elevation and increased energy. Christian Drapeau, Chief Science Officer of Stem Tech Health Sciences in San Clemente, California, author, research scientist and neurophysiologist, is co-inventor of the patented formula, StemEnhance TM. Drapeau has over thirteen years of research experience in the fields of natural foods and nutrition. Based on research he produced, and information he researched from other various scientific teams, Mr. Drapeau and his collaborators recently proposed and published a breakthrough theory on adult stem cell physiology. StemEnhance TM is currently shipped throughout the USA and Canada. Distribution to Mexico will be opening in a couple of months, the European Union and Asia soon thereafter. StemEnhance is marketed through network marketing, and can be purchased in a Retail ProPack, reducing wholesale cost to 50% of retail, the most advantageous way to add StemEnhance to your website’s product line.
A. This is typical of the type of hype and promotion regarding an unproven product that has no scientific research yet using pseudo-related scientific research to back the claims. Most consumers will see through these misleading claims, but others will buy into and waste their money. This type of marketing gives the nutritional industry a bad name.
Q. I just read the information and opinion of
the doctor about the Stem Cell Enhancer product made from a plant.
Three months ago my uncle was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis, in particular Jean Pierre condition. He was in a wheel chair, could not moved and he started to take the Stem Cell Enhancer Product. Three months passed and he is out of the wheel chair, walking and doing everything that he used to do. He is 80 years old. The doctors on VA Hospital can not believe it .How can you ,the staff or doctor, explain this?
A. There are several things we can say, the most likely being that this is a made up story by someone who is trying to promote their Stem Cell Enhancer product and using these kinds of fake anecdotes. Assuming this is a true story, things to keep in mind. The diagnosis of myasthenia gravis may have been wrong. The diagnosis of MG may have been right and there was a natural remission that occurred regardless of the Stem Cell Enhancer product use. Other medicines may have been give to the patient that is not mentioned in the email. The least likely explanation is that something within this product did help. However we have no idea what they mean by Stem Cell Enhancer and we have no idea what is in this product.
Q. I am a 60 year old male. I was recently afflicted
Transverse Myelitis. Do you think Stem Cell Enhancers would help or
any other suggestions?
A. We doubt stem cell enhancers will help with transverse myelitis.
Q. I just read the material on your site concerning
StemEnhance and what I understand you to say are "dubious" claims from
someone wanting to sell a product. I am a 63 year old male who has
experienced a few challenges in life... I have FSHMD and have been
confined to a wheel chair for 19 years. I have broken my back 3 times, had
my gall bladder removed, suffered serious heart attack 19 years ago and
had quad bi-pass surgery in Portland, Oregon. I also have 2 types of
arthritis in my hands. I work on the computer doing research and web
sites... In doing research on
Muscular Dystrophy, I came across a study that had used adult stem cells on dog's to develop muscle tissue - the dog's improved and were even able to jump and climb stairs... I also came across some material about StemEnhance
and decided to give it a try... The first mistake I made was in not taking some before pictures... I started taking the capsules, 2 a day, and noticed that the "old age spots" on my hands and arms were fading - no big deal to me, but then in about 2 weeks I found I could make a fist with my right hand - a tight fist...!! I had not been able to do this for several years - then my left hand started to function again, I can even type again without much pain and discomfort... Then I noticed that I could sleep on my back without having pain and more pain.. Did I mention that I have a "bad"
back? If you could see it you would probably cry, L2-5 are fused in an arc of nearly 30 degrees, causing me to be "sway backed" and putting pressure on points not intended for that... For the last 5 years, someone had to lift
my left leg to place my foot on the rest on my power chair, guess what --- I can now lift that leg without assistance to the platform... Now this is not "hype" trying to sell you or anyone else anything, just the plain simple truth. I would hope that others might find the same relief from pain as I did from taking StemEnhance... Am I cured of anything? Probably not, however I have been able to stop the medication I was taking for arthritis and I have mobility where I haven't had it for years.
A. Stem cell research is valid and it is likely that treatment with highly sophisticated laboratory processed stem cells would be done intravenously or in a way that bypasses oral ingestion. We have difficulty believing that a product taken orally would have similar effects. We get a lot of testimonials emailed to us and it is difficult for us to determine which are legit and which are made up by the companies promoting their products.
Q. Have you looked into the recent claims to be able
to increase the release of stem cells (CD34+ cells are used as proof) with
the use of a concentrate of AFA (Blue Green Algae)? I refer to a company
called Stem Enhance. I have no association with them. Does the research
support their claims? Also, if this algae does this I would expect other
compounds (plant extracts, amino acids, antioxidants, etc) to do so as
well. Do you know of any other natural compounds that favorably enhance
the release of stem cells from the bone marrow?
A. We have not looked into this matter in any great detail to make such assessments as of January 2008.
Q. I would like your opinion on StemEnhance which
support into the natural release of Adult Stem Cell from your own bone
marrow into the bloodstream. It then helps to rebuild, renew and
rejuvenate you body.
A. I am not familiar with research regarding StemEnhance and don't have an opinion regarding the benefits or risks of this product.
Q. I'm an herbalist and was introduced to Stemtech
Health Sciences in 2007 by a Dr. friend from Kansas City when I had a
torn rotator. I couldn't believe my results . Since then I've seen
hundreds of life changing testimonials from people using "Stem Enhance".
Dr. Logan has sponsored 7 Dr's at Johns Hopkins who are recommending it
with phenomenal results as well. I'd love to be your sponsor and would
put you in direct contact with Dr. Logan as well.
A. I am quite skeptical of these so call natural stem cell enhancement products.
Have you heard of stem cell therapy for CKD, chronic
kidney disease? I just would like your input on its pros and cons, if
you are comfortable to share with me.
I have not studied this topic.