What Can Stem Cell Therapy Do for Cancer?

Stem cell transplants can help treat cancers affecting the blood or immune system (e.g., leukemia, lymphoma or multiple myeloma). High-dose chemotherapy treatments (sometimes with radiation) are typically used to kill cancer cells. Unfortunately, these high doses can destroy healthy stem cells as well as the body’s ability to make more. A stem cell transplant replaces the lost stem cells, allowing the body to recover from treatment more quickly.

What is a stem cell?

Stem cells are immature blood cells that can divide and mature into any type of blood cell. They’re essential for creating healthy, new cells and replacing specialized cells that are damaged or lost. There are four types of stem cells:

  • Embryonic
    Embryonic stem cells are undifferentiated stem cells found in the inner mass cells of a human embryo.
  • Tissue-specific
    Tissue-specific stem cells are more specialized than embryonic stem cells. They live in and can generate cells for specific tissues or organs.
  • Mesenchymal
    Mesenchymal stem cells are adult stem cells that live in and can make several types of cells belonging to the skeletal system like tissue, cartilage, bone and fat. Mesenchymal stem cells are known for their therapeutic potential for treating various human diseases, including cancer.
  • Induced pluripotent
    Induced pluripotent stem cells are reprogrammed skin or blood cellsthat can function like an embryonic stem cell. This type of stem cell could be a viable cancer vaccine and is a keystone of regenerative medicine.

Types of stem cell transplants for cancer treatments

There are two main types of stem cell transplants, including:

  • Autologous
    The stem cells come from the same person who will get the transplant.
  • Allogeneic
    The stem cells come from a matched related or unrelated donor. Allogeneic stem cell transplants are more effective in preventing cancer recurrences than autologous transplants because the donor cells recognize the cancer as foreign and can fight it more effectively.

If you’re interested in learning more about safe and effective stem cell therapy for cancer, call Certis Oncology Solutions at 858-228-4110.