There are many serious and debilitating diseases that seem to have no easy treatment or any treatment at all. For several of this type of ailments, the advancements in stem cell therapy could be the answer people are looking for. Unfortunately, stem cell therapy remains controversial, and is yet to be offered in many places. And in most developed countries, the prices for the treatment are beyond the reach of many people. However, a cheaper, more affordable alternative exists in the form of stem cell treatment in India, giving more people a chance to get better.
You’ve probably heard of stem cells one time or another – it’s a hot topic when it comes to medicine, after all. But what are stem cells anyway? According the U.S. National Institutes of Health resource for stem cell research, stem cells are cells not specific to any bodily function, and have the capability to divide, and hence multiply even after long periods of inactivity.
Also, they can be induced to transform into cells for tissues or organs – a function that makes them ideal for treatment of various diseases. This ability means the stem cells can heal injured human body parts – the reason why stem cells have been called the “holy grail of medicine” before. Scientists have worked with two kinds of stem cells: embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells.
- Embryonic stem cells are derived from unused embryos developed through in vitro fertilization. They are donated to research with the knowledge and consent of the donors.
- Adult stem cells also known as somatic stem cells are taken from mature tissues and not embryos.
These stem cells are then cultured and grown in laboratories to be used for treatment later on. Stem cell treatment entails introduction of the stem cells into the body of a person. The nature of the cells enables them to divide and heal tissues or organs for treatment.
Stem Cells – India
When it comes to procedures related to stem cells, India is one of the popular destinations. According to Forbes India, the country’s government, recognizing the importance of stem cells in medicine, allocated more than $66 million toward stem cell research in India. The research was geared toward understanding stem cells more, and conducting clinical trials to test a therapy’s effectiveness.
Like the other services offered by the country’s medical tourism industry, stem cell transplant in India is offered at a price a lot lower than the prices in developed countries. Besides the lower costs of stem cell transplant, India offers some treatments that may not be available in other locations.
Illnesses that Stem Cell Therapy Can Treat
There are many diseases and ailments that could possibly be cured by stem cells – diseases which were previously thought to be incurable, leading to terminal illnesses that ultimately result in death. A common example would be leukemia. According to the University of Utah’s Genetic Science Learning Center, doctors opt for bone marrow transplants whenever chemotherapy alone cannot eliminate all the abnormal leukocytes in a patient with leukemia.
Aside from cancer and leukemia, stem cell treatment in India also addresses various other diseases such as multiple sclerosis and several other degenerative disorders of the brain including metabolic disorders, Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy, and cerebellar degeneration. Stem cell therapy in India commonly uses adult stem cells such as mesenchymal stem cells, which are cells that can turn into bone cells, cartilage cells, and fat cells.
Stem Cell Treatment in India
Doctors from India could get these mesenchymal stem cells from a patient’s iliac crest, which is a part of the human pelvis. Extraction of these cells do not require full surgery – a minimally invasive procedure the entails the usage of needles is utilized. Other options exist such as bone grafting and the usage of bone morphogenic protein, but the former is painful and the latter is extremely expensive. Mesenchymal stem cells used in India would therefore seem a more appealing and more financially feasible option.
Many Indian doctors doing stem cell therapy have extensive experience in the field, some having trained in the United States for years. These doctors have been doing the procedure for long stretches of time already. Besides the doctors themselves, there are Indian hospitals offering stem cell treatment that have NLAB-accredit laboratories. NLAB or National Laboratories Accreditation Bureau is an organization that recognizes the technical competence of laboratories. All procedures offered to the patients have been duly analyzed and tested on pre-clinical studies.
Going to India
Aside from stem cell transplant, India offers a variety of other medical services that might compel you to visit the country. To be able to enter India, you would need a valid passport and a valid Indian visa that you can apply for in an embassy or a consulate. Deportation faces anyone without these valid documents.
Make sure to check your country’s information on traveling to India so you’d know if there are any other requirements you would need to acquire before you can go.
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