Autologous stem cells are vital, most especially in auto-transplantation. They are the undifferentiated stem cells that are harvested from an individual, preserved, and then returned to the same individual. The cells have the ability to develop into the different type of cells or tissues. The cells will be referred to as allogenic, when they’re removed from a person A, stored, then planted in another person. Autologous stem cells are different from other types of cells, in that they are gotten, stored, then given to the same person. Autologous essentially means cells from the same individual while allogenic on the other hand means cells from a different person.
AUTOLOGOUS STEM CELLS COUNT
The process of harvesting stem cells is not very complex. In fact, it can be done without any form of anesthesia. Patients can actually go back to their normal lives after the harvesting. Doctors typically get these stem cells from the bloodstream. The stem cells present in the bloodstream, are usually in little quantities. However, there are some growth factors, that can be given to the patient, to stimulate the production and spread of the stem cells from the bone marrow into the bloodstream. These factors are called cytokines. An example is the Granulocyte-colony stimulating factor. These factors are capable of increasing the number of stem cells, even up to a hundredfold. The cytokine injection is administered to the patient daily, and the number of stem cells is closely monitored. This stops when the patient has enough stem cells circulating in the bloodstream. The needed autologous stem cells count for the most procedure is around 5 million. This is usually more than enough to induce the bone marrow to start producing new stem cells.
AUTOLOGOUS STEM CELL THERAPY
There are some diseases and conditions that affect the functionality of the bone marrow. The bone marrow of the body is responsible for the production of stem cells. These stem cells grow, then differentiate into the different kind of blood cells. These include the red blood cell, white blood cells, and the platelets. However, when the bone marrow is diseased, normal functioning stem cells are introduced into the body, to induce the bone marrow to start producing healthy stem cells. This is autologous stem cell therapy. This therapy is important for the diseases that affect the bone marrow, as well as other types of diseases such as cancer, diabetes.
Uses of autologous stem cell therapy
- This therapy is needed for the treatment of diseases that destroys the bone marrow. Examples of these diseases are multiple myeloma, lymphomas, leukemia and other types of blood cancer
- This therapy is also needed to induce and stimulate the bone marrow to start producing stem cells, especially after some cancer treatment procedures such as radiotherapy and chemotherapy. These procedures often destroy the cancer cells, alongside the healthy cells of the bone marrow.
- Autologous stem cell therapy has been useful in the treatment of non- cancer diseases such as diabetes, pernicious anemia, different types of thalassemia and other nonhematological conditions
How are autologous stem cells collected?
Physicians typically collect these stem cells from the bloodstream. The stem cells present in the bloodstream, are usually in little quantities. This situation can be salvaged by introducing some growth factors. They can be administered to the patient, to induce the production and spread of the stem cells from the bone marrow into the bloodstream. These factors are called cytokines. An example is the Granulocyte-colony stimulating factor. These factors are capable of increasing the number of stem cells, even up to a hundredfold. The cytokine injection is administered to the patient daily, and the number of stem cells is closely monitored. They stop giving the stem cell growth inducers when the patient has enough stem cells circulating in the bloodstream. The process of harvesting stem cells is called apheresis
Contraindications of autologous stem cell therapy
There are no contraindications to autologous stem cell therapy. This gives it an edge over allogenic stem cell therapy
Side effects of autologous stem cell therapy
Autologous stem cell therapy has been largely safe, thanks to the development, improvements, and advancement in medicine. The only side effects that can be associated with this procedure are not caused by the therapy itself, but by the conditioning therapy. They are the procedures that are to be put in place before harvesting and transplanting the cells. However, most of these reactions are transient and are reversible. Below are some of the reactions and side effects associated with autologous stem cell therapy
- Vulnerability to diseases: The duration of about 14 to 21 days required for the bone marrow to produce and white blood cells, exposes the body to all sorts of infections from micro-organisms. The most common attack during this period is a bacterial infection, this is because of the low quantity of neutrophils in the body. Apart from the deficit in the cellular components of the blood, the immune system is also down during this period. This further gives room for viral and fungal infections. Most patients are often placed on antibiotics for weeks and sometimes months. To reduce the risk of having opportunistic infections. However, the upside is that recovery is faster in autologous stem cell therapy, compared to allogeneic stem cell therapy.
- Liver damage: Chemotherapy, when given in high dosage, are capable of injuring the liver. This sometimes can have grave consequences. An earlier history of chemotherapy procedures or radiotherapy makes it worse. The veins of the liver become occluded due to the heavy dosage and intensity of the treatment. The manifestations include ascites, tenderness of the liver, rapid weight gain, and swelling of the abdomen. However, research is still ongoing, on how to prevent veno-occlusive liver disease.
- Long-term effects of autologous stem cell therapy: Some long-term side effects have been associated with autologous stem cell therapy. These include cataracts, infertility. There have also been cases of secondary cancers, occurring as a complication of conditioning therapy.
Autologous stem cell therapy is relatively an emerging aspect of health care. For more information, visit iSTEMCELL.com
Ali, N., Adil, S. and Shaikh, M. (2015). Autologous Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation-10 Years of Data From a Developing Country. STEM CELLS Translational Medicine, 4(8), pp.873-877.
Gorin, N. (2002). Autologous Stem Cell Transplantation in Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia. Stem Cells, 20(1), pp.3-10.
Grange, C. and Bussolati, B. (2015). Ex vivo manipulation of bone marrow cells to rescue uremia-induced dysfunction for autologous therapy. Stem Cell Research & Therapy, 6(1).
van de Vyver, M. (2017). Intrinsic Mesenchymal Stem Cell Dysfunction in Diabetes Mellitus: Implications for Autologous Cell Therapy. Stem Cells and Development, 26(14), pp.1042-1053.
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