Here I am discussing stem cells as future therapy. Notably, doctors use stem cells to treat end stage arthritis where bone rubs on bone. In addition, they also use stem cells for treating cardiovascular conditions (e.g. heart failure following a heart attack). Today physicians often mix bone marrow stem cells and mesenchymal stem cells from liposuction. Doctors then add platelet rich plasma (PRP), which activates the stem cells. Certainly, in order to use stem cells as future therapy one needs to overcome the present limitations. The limitations at present are that doctors use stem cell preparations with mostly mesenchymal stem cells. That is to say that these stem cells are already committed to help only organs that derived from the mesoderm in fetal life (bones, joints, heart). Only these will be supported as mesenchymal stem cells are not pluripotent.
Pluripotent stem cells in experiments with horses
However, research in horses showed that stem cells can be induced to become pluripotent stem cells again. Later it was found that treatment with a blue-green algae compound could also activate pluripotent stem cells in the blood. Researchers found that only 6 hours after giving the algae product stem cells from the blood had recruited pluripotent stem cells. These stem cells support tissues derived from the ectoderm and endoderm layers in fetal life as well. Ectoderm tissues are the skin and the central nervous system. Endoderm tissues include the lungs, the liver and the pancreas.
Blue-green algae make stem cells pluripotent
The blue-green algae product was used to pre-treat horses. Their system produced more of the pluripotent stem cells in their blood. These stem cells could be a tool to heal tendinitis or arthritis in the horses. The procedure of stimulating blood cells using the blue-green algae to become pluripotent has been patented.
Later medical researchers gave humans the same blue-green algae substance to ingest. Again blood tests showed that there were many more pluripotent stem cells circulating in the blood. This was a breakthrough!
Pluripotent stem cells as future therapy in humans
Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have aging lung cells. COPD patients are suffering because these cells exchange carbon dioxide and oxygen poorly. An end stage COPD patient, a woman from Houston, TX was part of a group of 11 COPD patients. They all received chest physiotherapy. She was the only one who received this new pluripotent stem cell therapy by inhalation. Her own blood stem cells produced pluripotent stem cells after stimulation with the algae product. She is now the only surviving COPD patient among that group. All the others passed away. Her oxygen saturation is in the high 90% range, which is very good. Doctors are making pluripotent stem cell inhalations from her own blood twice per year.
We do not have all of the answers to treatment with stem cells. But physicians are learning more about various stem cell applications. The newest is that pluripotent stem cells can even help COPD patients. An algae product can stimulate pluripotent stem cells. With more more research on stem cells treatment with stem cells will be promising for various health problems.
More info about COPD.