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Using Your Own Stem Cells to Treat AMD
June 09, 2015

Using Your Own Stem Cells to Treat AMD

There is lots of news constantly popping up regarding the use of embryonic stem cells for research which generates concerns for many people ethically, politically, and scientifically. There are other ways to obtain or generate stem cells without the use of embryos.

Adult Stem Cells

Another option is to obtain them from adult bone marrow. Most of you are familiar with the use of bone marrow transplants to treat leukemia, lymphoma and other types of cancers. The stem cells come from the spongy tissue that is inside the bones.

These immature cells can also be found circulating in the blood stream. In the past stem cells were collected from the pelvic bones through a surgical process. Now they are typically collected through a process call apharesis or peripheral blood stem cell collection.

A needle is placed in the patient's arm and their blood goes through a machine called a cell separator. The machine is able to collect the stem cells and then return the remaining blood back to the patient. It may take several hours to collect the needed stem cells.

Autologous or Allogeneic Stem Cells

When a procedure uses one's own stem cells, it is called an autologous transplant. When another person's stem cells are given to the patient it is called an allogeneic transplant. Often it is preferable to use a person's own stem cells rather than donor stem cells so that there are less complications or opportunities for cell rejection.

What has that got to do with macular degeneration? Several different clinical trials are using adult stem cells in patients with AMD. Watch a quick video of a patient who had advanced dry AMD and received his transplant through a clinical trial and what vision changes he has experienced:

Video of AMD Patient Who Received Adult Stem Cell Transplant

Leslie Degner, RN, BSN

Better Health for Better Vision

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