Mexican clinic promotes stem cell therapy to treat range of diseases

November 11, 2015 7:53 am 

MEXICO CITY, Nov. 10 — A Mexican clinic is promoting a stem cell therapy to treat a range of diseases, from diabetic foot to arthritis and pulmonary fibrosis.

Esther Arroyo Conde, who turns 78 in a few weeks, is a case in point. She suffers from arthritis, osteoarthritis, or cartilage wear, in both knees, which make it difficult to walk, and especially climb stairs.

After only a couple of sessions of stem cell therapy, also known as regenerative medicine, she is able to walk better and be more independent.

"It's my third consultation and I'm feeling quite good," Arroyo told Xinhua as she waited for her appointment at Cambium Therapies, a private clinic in south Mexico City specializing in advanced cell therapy.

"There was a time when I couldn't walk without straps, but thanks to god and the treatment, I can now walk and go up the stairs," she said.

Arroyo said the treatments have improved her quality of life.

The Mexico's private medical center, which opened just three months ago, is the first of its kind in the capital.

The stem cells used to treat patients can be obtained from a variety of sources. Initially harvested mainly from bone marrow and umbilical chords, they can now also be gotten from "the fatty tissue of the patient or a donor," resident biologist Ricardo Rangel Martinez said.

Rangel, who specializes in the cryopreservation of stem cells at the clinic's own cell bank, believes the therapy "is going to spark a medical revolution" as it is applied to an ever increasing number of ailments.

The process to regenerate knee cartilage, for example, can also be used in cosmetic facial treatments, and involves first extracting both blood and fatty tissue from the patient via a mini liposuction before obtaining the stem cells.

The stem cells can be injected intravenously or directly into the area to be treated, and begin to have regenerative effects almost immediately, he said.

Stem cells are unique because they can develop into different types of cells when "young," such as muscle cells, brain cells or red blood cells, and can work to repair organs or tissue from the inside.

Controversy swirled around the stem cell therapy when it focused almost exclusively on embryonic stem cells derived from human embryos, but has died down as science develops other sources, such as adult stem cells or amniotic stem cells. (PNA/Xinhua)

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