The controversy over the use of cells from discarded embryos has slowed the research into the medical benefits of stem cells.
But a safer and ethical alternative can be found in adult stem cells. These cells are derived from various sources throughout the human body. These is no chance of immune rejection because a patient can even use his or her own cells.
In animals, where there is less regulation, research using stem cells has progressed far more quickly. The animal version of adult stem cell treatment was documented by ABC’s Nightline.
About 3000 horses have been treated for joint problems said the founder of VetStem in an interview with Nightline. VetStem pioneered the application of this technique. People with house pets, such as cats and dogs, began taking their pets in for the treatment once the news started to spread.
A stem cell infusion was given to a dog with hip dysplasia. A hip replacement would have cost four times the $2500 dollars the stem cell infusion cost. Much greater freedom of movement and a happier more active personality was observed in the dog within two weeks.
Since the firm has refused to release what it says is proprietary information about its methods, researchers have expressed caution about VetStem’s claims for its technique. However, despite the the lack of outside evaluation, pet owners have no doubt about the effectiveness of the stem cell treatments.
The promise of finding treatments to heal not only the joints, but also the kidneys, livers, hearts, and spinal cords injuries of humans could be accelerated if a similar technique can pass the regulatory hurdles for humans.