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Myths and Misconceptions about Stem Cell Research

Myths and Misconceptions about Stem Cell Research

If you’re reading this blog you probably know a whole lot about stem cells and stem cell research already. We are also sure you know that Plexus is India’s first ISO-Certified stem cell research centre.

So, who better than our founder and India’s top stem cell specialist, Dr Na’eem Sadiq, to bust some of the most common myths and misconceptions about stem cells and stem cell therapy.

Myth #1 Stem cell therapy is painful

Nope! Stem cell therapy quite literally involves two pricks. The first is when we procure the stem cells from the mature tissues in the patient’s body (in autologous therapy). The second is when we inject the cultured stem cells back into the patient’s body.

You may experience slight discomfort or swelling at the site of the prick. But this is temporary.

Myth #2 Donating stem cells is dangerous

There are no risks in donating stem cells. On the contrary, you’ll be saving a life.

Myth #3 Stem cells can cure all diseases

Not yet. Stem cells can “treat” a lot of conditions and reduce the severity of symptoms.

Stem cells have been known to improve the quality of life of patients suffering from:

  • Inflammatory conditions
  • Orthopaedic conditions
  • Trauma-induced conditions
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Neurological disorders
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Hematopoietic diseases
  • Cardiovascular illnesses
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Kidney disorders
  • Lung disease
  • Liver disorders
  • Cancers
  • Skin disorders
  • Ocular disorders

However, there is still a lot of research underway to understand the potential of stem cells.

And perhaps some day, stem cells may be able to cure life-threatening diseases too.

You can read more about the potential application of stem cells here.

Myth #4 Stem cells are unethically sourced

Not true. 

Stem cells are sourced from consenting adults. After procuring them, these stem cells are cultured in laboratory conditions. Owing to their differentiating characteristics, laboratory-grown stem cells differentiate into daughter cells which are then injected into the patient. 

Read about the different types of stem cells here.

Myth #5 Embryonic stem cells are derived by destroying life.

Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) are pluripotent stem cells sourced from the inner cell mass of an embryo in its early stages of development.

While ESCs are derived from human embryos, they are derived from ‘unneeded embryos’ that are created during IVF procedures. The scientific community believes that embryos do not have life until implantation (in the uterus) or the 14th day from fertilisation.

ESCs are derived from unneeded embryos much younger than 14 days.

Due to their pluripotent nature, ESCs can be used in the management of diseases such as Parkinson’s, diabetes, and cardiovascular conditions.

In 2001, President George W. Bush put a ban on the federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. The government called the practice unethical because ESCs were derived by destroying embryos. However, this misconception led to what we now call stem cell research controversy.

The Bush administration ban set stem cell research back by decades. Many American scientists set up their laboratories in other countries to continue their research. In 2009, President Barack Obama lifted the ban.

Note: ESCs do not come from aborted or terminated foetuses either. They can only be derived from embryos younger than 14 days.

Myth #6 Stem cell therapy is expensive

Stem cell therapy offers you and your loved one a new lease on life. And you can’t really put a price on that, can you?

Nevertheless, Plexus offers customisable regenerative rehabilitation plans that can fit into your budget.

Myth #7 Stem cells cannot cross the blood-brain barrier

They can!

The central nervous system’s (CNS) blood vessels have the ability to control the movement of cells, molecules, and ions between the brain and the blood. This ability is called the blood-brain barrier. A common misconception about stem cell therapy is that they cannot go past the blood-brain barrier. 

Stem cells are smaller than white blood cells. In fact they’re only about 10-15 microns in size. Therefore, they can easily pass through the blood-brain barrier when injected through IV. This along with their ability to repair or regenerate neurons within the CNS makes stem cells the ideal choice for managing  autoimmune conditions such as multiple sclerosis and ALS, and  managing neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s, stroke, and others. 

Stem cell therapy is still a relatively new medical marvel. However, as acceptance increases, the myths about stem cell therapy will reduce too. 

At Plexus Neuro and Stem Cell Research Centre  we provide customised stem cell therapy plans to manage a variety of neurological conditions. Our centres in Bangalore and Hyderabad offer autologous mesenchymal stem cell transplantation, meaning we work with stem cells procured from the patient’s own body. This reduces the risks of immune rejection and side-effects.

If you’d like to know more about stem cell therapy at Plexus, do reach out to us on the following numbers:

WhatsApp +91 89048 42087

Call +91 78159 64668 (Hyderabad) | +91 82299 99888 (Bangalore)


What is the controversy of using stem cells?

The discovery of human embryonic stem cells (ESCs) led to the belief that ESCs were derived from destroyed human embryos. This led to a moral and ethical controversy. However, ESCs are derived from embryos younger than 14 days. Furthermore, these are unneeded embryos created during IVF procedures.

What are 2 possible risks of using stem cells?

Immune rejection is the biggest risk of using stem cells. However, autologous stem cell therapy (using stem cells procured from the patient’s body) does not have this risk

Other risks of stem cell therapy include swelling and pain (at the site of the injection), fever, nausea, etc. You can read more about the risks of stem cells in this blog.

What is amazing about stem cells?

Stem cells are self-renewing, immunomodulatory, and differentiating progenitor cells,  with the ability to secrete growth factors. This allows them to repair damaged neurons, regenerate and replace dead neurons, improve the body’s immune system, and possibly even grow entire organs. 

Why are stem cells so powerful?

Stem cells are the basis of life. All types of specialised cells generate from stem cells. Their differentiating and self-renewing properties make them extremely powerful and valuable for the management of several chronic health conditions.

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