Stem cells : myths and reality

Yuri Heifetz
Modern scientists confidently say that we have entered the era of cellular technologies.The use of human stem cells today can deal with a variety of incurable diseases before.And attempts to cultivate tissue and whole organs in vitro have become a promising area of ​​medicine.However, stem cells are still linked to many prejudices and fears.

How justified are these fears?What diseases are successfully cured with stem cells?How to choose a clinic and not to fall into the hands of fraudsters?These and other questions are answered by the head physician of stem cell clinics "Contemporary Medicine" Yuri Kheifits.

- Yuri, the theme of stem cells (SC) - one of the most fashionable in the press.Some consider them a panacea and the elixir of youth.And someone - a source of evil and cancerous tumors.What accounts for these fears?

- All our fears are, as a rule, are without some factual basis.With respect to human stem cells are associated with the fact that in the beginning of the embryonic stem cells are u

sed, or fetal tissues (obtained from materials in an abortion).

addition to ethical issues causing concern that these types of IC have this feature as unrestricted potency to reproduce.Figuratively speaking, they can be called cells, deprived of reason.Once in the human body, they are able to turn into any cell, which will meet on your way.And theoretically not excluded that at the meeting with the cancer cell may take its form and trigger the development of cancer.

Today this theory is called into question.American scientists have conducted extensive research, in fact rehabilitated embryonic SC.They were able to prove that if they cause tumors, only benign.Only in those cases, which are called artifacts - exceptionally, individual situations.

However, as in that joke, there were spoons, and the residue remained: some fear is preserved in humans.As consumers of cellular technology, they do not have to delve into the scientific articles, to delve into the intricacies of the issue.Because often use information relating to the category of rumors, or "echo" - what was, not what is.Today cell technology are highly effective, absolutely safe, that attracted him more and more people.

- However, as far as I know, embryonic and fetal UK for treatment are not used.What has come to replace them?

- Clinics that specialize in cellular technology, used the so-called mesenchymal stem cells: they are less active, differentiated only in diseased tissue cells and organs.They are obtained either from the patient's own biological material (adipose tissue or bone marrow) or cord blood of healthy newborns (in which case they are donor).

in cell therapy are also widely used fibroblasts isolated from the stratum corneum.Strictly speaking, they are not stem, as already passed specialization.Therefore, their use is limited to a certain amount of manipulation: skin rejuvenation and its recovery from severe injuries and burns.Quite often applied hematopoietic stem cells: only one blood cell can be obtained afterwards.

- Safety and effectiveness of cellular technology in the first place associated with the ability to direct the differentiation of table cells in the right direction.When did it happen?And this task is carried out in practice?

- to name a particular day, when biologists all over the world and Russia have learned to differentiate and promote the cells in the right direction, it is impossible.We can say that any final decision of this work has received in the past three to five years.But now it is quite a challenge.With existing standards dogmas does not exist here.

fact that there are two main ways in the treatment of stem cells.The first way - the so-called systemic treatment: the patient is injected into the blood stream a huge number of stem cells, and they, like ambulances rush to the affected tissues and organs.The second way - using the so-called mixed terrain: a mixture of stem and partially differentiated stem cells.Which way you choose depends on the individual case and is determined jointly by the biologist and physician .

cite a few examples.For example, a person struck by a stroke and needs stem cell treatment.In the laboratory, today nothing prevents me to grow neurons - brain cells.To do this, I need to take patient's adipose tissue, isolated from her stem cells, and lead them through a series of passages - passages with a special environment to another.However, if you enter them in the blood of the patient, it will not bring concrete benefits.They will be immediately attacked by cells of the immune system and destroyed.

is quite another thing when we enter into the blood in large quantities (tens or hundreds of millions of units) stem cells.Settling in all organs and tissues, they undergo a series of specific transformations turn into neurons in the brain and restore the affected tissue.That is - a normal situation.

Myocardial infarction is more efficient is another way of treatment.This condition allows you to enter into the blood of a large number of mixed stem cells and grown in the laboratory kardioblastov - cardiomyocyte precursor cells of the heart.Thus in the diseased organ and still get almost complete myocardial cells that have matured in place to cardiomyocytes.That is, in each case we are looking for a solution path.

- Work with stem cells - a difficult task?

- Of course!If you go to our lab, you will see what kind of sophisticated equipment, high-tech culture media which we use.Create such a laboratory is extremely difficult.It must comply with the so-called clean room - to be completely sealed from the outside world.Laboratory work it in special circumstances.

There is another difficulty, which is important to have an idea.Before the introduction of the blood stem cells in a patient I need to avoid allergic reactions.And to do this as thoroughly as possible, 100% clear cell culture from the culture medium residues.It also requires complicated equipment, possession of specific methods and techniques.When injected into the blood culture so-called dirty - residues of a protein on the cell surface - the patient may be anaphylactic shock.

- far as I know, in many countries, work with stem cells is only permitted within the framework of research.In Russia, it is not so?

- Stem cell treatment in Russia is allowed.This is the rare case when it is our country - in the forefront.But it does have a lot of permissive documents: a license to work with stem cells as a biological material, the introduction of a license for their patients directly.We hardly probable not the only clinic in Russia, in which all these documents there.

In accordance with the law of the Russian Federation "On stem therapy" we built a clinic, certifying it in the so-called ISO 9001. This - the European quality standard clean room, which I have already spoken.We have obtained all the necessary licenses Roszdravnadzor.

Already more than a year with the help of stem cells, we successfully treat diseases of the liver, pancreas, lung, ulcerative colitis, heart attacks and strokes, multiple sclerosis, etc.Theoretically, we even nobody forbids to treat AIDS.But since work on AIDS has not been completed the pilot, as we do not dare.cancer and pregnancy -

only two limitations exist for stem cell treatment.

- Tell me, why, then, many of our leading clinics use only certain direction?For example, the Medical Radiological Center specializes in cardiology and CDB - on immunology and hematology?

- The answer is simple - they do not have enough money.The use of cellular technologies on a large scale requires huge funds.Not only laboratories, created by clean room standards, but a huge amount of equipment, reagents, culture media and consumables.I'm not talking about educated, properly trained, well-paid professionals.State to invest money in it is completely ready.

- I agree.But at the same time on the Internet you can find a huge number of questionable firms that offer similar treatment.And, it seems, does not bear any responsibility for it.

- Unfortunately, we are faced with this constantly.For example, today in Russia there was a huge amount of cryobanks or gemobankov.Having a license only on the reproduction and storage of stem cells, they offer even treatment.Take the patients a lot of money, but it does not enter into an agreement, sometimes not even issue a check.And, of course, does not bear any liability result.

Every time I come to the horror of what they bring in - is unclear.Of course, there are guilty and the patients themselves.When it comes to health, and sometimes life can not be so trusting and irresponsible.

- And in this case it is necessary to act?What to look for?

- First of all, the presence of the clinic the entire set of permits.I believe that the patient has to rewrite the number of licenses and permits, go to the side Roszdravnadzor in "cell technology" section and make sure that all the permissions and licenses exist in the computer database and is owned by the clinic.

between the clinic and the patient must conclude a contract with the signatures and seals, which stipulates the rights and obligations of both parties.The patient must sign the resolution and on the fence had biological material, and the introduction of the culture of stem cells, get your passport cell.After treatment he act shall be issued on the work performed, as with the signatures and seals.And of course, when you make money he should be given some kind of a payment document.

I do not want to offend anyone!But people come to us, which comes just horrible.

- you are doing more than one year of treatment with stem cells.In what diseases it is possible to see the most dramatic results?

- Me as a doctor is very pleased with the results of treatment of multiple sclerosis.People come to us in a wheelchair, and go on their own feet.Of course, we do not have long-distance runners.But they return to a normal life, it can take care of themselves.

excellent results - in the treatment of the consequences of heart attacks and strokes, dilated cardiomyopathy.In the latter disease can only help a heart transplant and cellular technologies are able to deliver on this vision.

introduction of stem cells helps to cope with cirrhosis.We are able to help kids with Down syndrome.Of course, we do not correct a genetic disease itself.But after the treatment these children are moving extremely fast on the steps of social adaptation, develop their psycho-emotional, mental and other abilities.

In fact, it is difficult to distinguish something.Almost any disease, the cure for which we undertake, it departs from their borders.

course, this retreat depends on many factors.From the age of the patient, presence of concomitant diseases.About how long it is sick.How this disease established in its genetic history.Unfortunately, despite all the talk that I spend with patients before treatment, some of them are prone to illusions.

- What do you mean?

- Stem cells are surrounded by an aura of not only negative information.They use a lot of expectations due superoptimisticheskogo plan.The clinic call and ask in all seriousness: I'm sixty years old, whether the stem cells to make me 20 years younger?Newspaper articles or references to the Internet.People are confused unfair information!

In an interview with the patient, I always explain that in his case may make stem cells.I give a probabilistic forecast.But in the depths of the human soul still lives in hope of a miracle, and sometimes it plays a trick on him.

For example, patients who have had a severe stroke, there is little that he began to walk and talk.He wants to be Demosthenes.He is angry that does not speak as freely as before the illness, and the resent it on the stem cells.But we are working in the field of real things, engaged in science and practical medicine.And do not tell each other stories.No branch of medicine can not guarantee a perfect result.

- In your practice, there are cases that are particularly memorable?

- Of course!For reasons of ethics will not mention the name and surname of the boy.He played in the yard, a huge garbage truck driver did not notice the child and the rear part of the machine literally vmyali him into the wall at home, crushing the chest and seriously injuring his head.Boy for a long time in a coma, he was taken out of the coma.But he could not move or speak, he was in a state of poluvegetativnom.

child back to life, today he runs, says (though not as smooth as before the injury), perfectly reading After two courses of injection of stem cells.Is not it wonderful?

- What do you think, and what we can expect in the future?In what direction are developing cell technology?

- I think that will soon be lifted all the restrictions, and the events will take a turn.After the birth of each person will take a small piece of skin, isolated from him his stem cells and put them in storage in the Cryobank.And when, God forbid, he is sick, it will give the opportunity to grow from it a new body and to replace them came into disrepair.

So maybe we do not overcome death, but to extend the life of very-very distant limits.As it is known, is trying to grow organs are in the nature of experiments.But now, stem cells help heal many sick, abandoned by orthodox medicine.

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