Stem Cell Therapy: Review and Future Prospects (Updated Aug 2020)

Trying to keep up with the latest stem cell therapy evidence? There are more than 50,000 scientific publications published on "stem cell' on the U.S. National Library of Medicine. As of August 2020, more than 7,900 studies have been launched to investigate the potential of stem cell therapy under the U.S. Clinical Trial Registry.

Just for 2020 alone, there are more than 15,000 scientific publications published on "stem cell' on the National Library of Medicine (PubMed).
Stem Cell Research Summary

Stem cell therapy has gained popularity as a promising treatment option for conditions where the current medical treatment protocols have been exhausted. However, there is also a lot of confusion due to the overwhelming mixing of credible scientific information and marketing hypes available on the internet.

Due to the fast-changing pace of research and technology, new evidence accumulates rapidly and clinical guidelines need to be periodically updated.

If you are new to stem cells, check out stem cell basics.

We have compiled and summarised essential information below in layman's terms so that you can understand and make a better informed decision.

This page contains information and links to list of stem cell therapy and research in various categories. This list is a work-in-progress list as new evidence might be added from time to time.


STEM CELL THERAPY EVIDENCE AND RESEARCH BY CATEGORY

Here, we have listed and compiled all significant scientific publications related to stem cell therapy. The list was compiled by running various searches on PubMed. Each study is hyperlinked to the abstract in the U.S. National Library of Medicine or the full text article to make it easier for healthcare providers or scientists to access more details. The list was compiled by running various searches on PubMed.

In order to make it consumer friendly, we have tried to summarise the studies and minimise the technical jargons.

Here is the list by category.


1. Stem Cell Therapy and COVID-19

Can stem cell therapy be used for the treatment of COVID-19?

Just for 2020 alone, there are already more than 300 publications published on "stem cell and covid19" on the National Library of Medicine (PubMed).

As of Aug 2020, there are 410 studies that have been launched to investigate the benefits of stem cell therapy and COVID-19. You can review the status and details of these trials on Global COVID-19 Trial Tracker

Mesenchymal stem cells are used as immuno-modulators for severe COVID-19 patients and some of the trial projects are launched in combination with other medications such as interleukin (IL) 6 inhibitors  e.g. tocilizumab. IL-6 inhibitors have been studied mainly for their potential to calm down the 'cytokine storm' associated with ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome), a severe COVID-19 lung complication.

For a more comprehensive review, check out Can Stem Cell Therapy Help Against the Latest Coronavirus?


2. Stem Cell Therapy for Knee Pain (knee osteoarthritis)

Some doctors and media channels argue that there is very little evidence to support the use of stem cells to treat orthopaedic conditions. However, there are more than 250 publications related to the use of stem cells in treating knee orthopaedic conditions alone.

Just for 2020 alone, there are 96 publications published on "stem cell and knee osteoarthritis" on the National Library of Medicine (PubMed). We have not even included publications on other joints.

There are currently 80 studies on stem cell treatment for knee osteoarthritis under the U.S. Clinical Trial Registry.

Regenexx, the largest provider of stem cell therapy for orthopaedic conditions in the United States alone, have treated 30,000 patients with stem cell therapy for various joint conditions including knee pain.

In 2016, a 9 year follow up study of 2,372 patients in 18 clinical facilities was published by Centeno et al. Treated areas of the body included the knee, hip, ankle/foot, hand/wrist, elbow, shoulder, and spine. There was no evidence to suggest that treatment with mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) of any type in this study increased the risk of cancer.
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Several other comparative studies have demonstrated good evidence in the treatment of osteoarthritis. However, there are several approaches and cell lines used. More well-designed and randomised controlled trials are needed to evaluate the best approach and universal consensus. As studies continue, the methods, forms and combinations of stem cell preparations are improving, and outcomes are expected to improve as well.

Related: Stem Cell Treatment for Knees in Malaysia
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3. Stem Cell Therapy for Diabetes Mellitus

There are more than 2500 publications related to the use of stem cells in diabetes mellitus and diabetic nephropathy (diabetic kidney disease).

Just for 2020 alone, there are 151 publications published on "stem cell and diabetes mellitus" on the National Library of Medicine (PubMed).

As of Aug 2020, there are more than 120 studies that have been launched to investigate the benefits of stem cell therapy and diabetes mellitus. You can review the status and details of these trials on clinicaltrials.gov.

A review, published in the Progress in Stem Cell journal in 2019 suggested a combination of antioxidants, growth factors or hormones along with MSCs (mesenchymal stem cells) in optimal combinations and concentrations for the treatment of diabetic nephropathy.

Related: Stem cell therapy for Diabetes in Malaysia


4. Stem Cell Hair Treatment

There are more than 100 publications related to the use of stem cells and hair loss.

Just for 2020 alone, there are 16 publications published on "stem cell and hair loss" on the National Library of Medicine (PubMed).

As of August 2020, 9 studies were found for 'stem cell and hair loss' under the U.S. Clinical Trial Registry.


5. Stem Cell Therapy for Stroke

There are more than 3,000 publications related to the use of stem cells and stroke.

Stroke constitutes the second leading cause of death worldwide. Stem cell therapy that has been developed over the past several decades represents a promising alternative or supplemental strategy; notably, this approach has already reached the translational stage, with therapeutic results in humans having been discussed in various publications.

In this review (published in Nature), the authors examined the clinical research trends related to stem cell therapy products in the stroke space based on information obtained from the ClinicalTrials.gov website and International Clinical Trials Research Platform (ICTRP) portal site.

Just for 2020 alone, there are more than 200 publications published on "stem cell and stroke" on the National Library of Medicine (PubMed).

As of Aug 2020, there are more than 60 studies that have been launched to investigate the benefits of stem cell therapy and stroke. You can review the status and details of these trials on clinicaltrials.gov.


6. Stem Cell Therapy for Autism

There are more than 400 publications related to the use of stem cells and autism.

This year alone (2020), there are more than 80 publications published on "stem cell and autism" on the National Library of Medicine (PubMed). Clinical trials have been performed to demonstrate safety and efficacy of stem cells autism management.

As of August 2020, 12 studies have been launched to investigate the potential of stem cell therapy for autism under the U.S. Clinical Trial Registry. You can search the database to look for more details of the clinical trials including the countries and centres that are conducting them.


7. Stem Cell Therapy for Anti-Aging Research Update

Stem cell therapy for anti aging is an ongoing topic of research and is considered experimental by the medical community. Is there any evidence that stem cell therapy for anti aging is effective and safe?
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Despite the fact that there are many published studies on stem cell therapy for anti-aging, major media has been slow to report the findings.

There are more than 150 publications related to the use of stem cells and anti-aging.

Just for 2020 alone, there are 33 publications published on "stem cell and anti aging" on the National Library of Medicine (PubMed).

As of August 2020, 2 studies were found for 'stem cell and anti-aging' under the U.S. Clinical Trial Registry.
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8. Stem Cell Therapy for Kidney Diseases

There are more than 650 published studies related to the use of stem cells and kidney disease and more than 300 published studies related to stem cells and kidney failure.

The increasing incidence of kidney diseases raises considerable concerns regarding human health worldwide. A number of studies in recent years have attempted to identify the underlying mechanisms of renal repair in order to explore the potential regenerative capacity of the kidneys. Many papers have reported on the potential use of stem cells of different origins for treating many different pathologies, including kidney diseases.

Several clinical trials have confirmed the safety and tolerability of stem cells, and in particular of MSC-based therapies (Mesenchymal Stem Cell), in patients with renal diseases and kidney transplants (Int J of Mol Sci. 2019).

This year alone (2020), there are more than 80 publications published on "stem cell and kidney disease" on the National Library of Medicine (PubMed). Clinical trials have been performed to demonstrate safety and efficacy of stem cells autism management.

As of August 2020, more than 100 studies have been launched to investigate the potential of stem cell therapy for kidney disease under the U.S. Clinical Trial Registry. You can search the database to look for more details of the clinical trials including the countries and centres that are conducting them.

Related: Stem Cell Treatment for Kidney Diseases in Malaysia


9. Stem Cell Therapy for Liver Diseases

There are more than 900 published studies related to the use of stem cells and liver disease and more than 600 published studies related to stem cells and liver failure.

Liver failure caused by liver cirrhosis, due to various long term liver diseases such as chronic hepatitis B and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; was thought to be irreversible. A liver transplant is currently the standard treatment to end-stage liver cirrhosis.

However, not every liver failure and liver cirrhosis patients are eligible for a liver transplant in Malaysia. The shortage of matching donors and the high risk of surgical-associated complications further limits the success of a liver transplant.

Since stem cells can be transformed into liver-like cells, the potential of stem cell therapy to treat liver failure and liver cirrhosis has been studied as an interesting new feasible option.

Just for 2020 alone, there are more than 80 publications published on "stem cell and liver disease" on the National Library of Medicine (PubMed).

As of August 2020, more than 90 studies were found for 'stem cell and liver disease' under the U.S. Clinical Trial Registry.

A review of 37 studies (Int Journal of Stem Cell Res and Ther. 2017) by Malaysian researchers found that both autologous and allogeneic adult stem cell-based therapies have shown promising results in restoring liver function in cirrhosis patients.


10. Stem Cell Therapy for Back Pain

Do take note that back pain problems may arise from several causes and degenerative disc is just one of the many causes of back pain. Therefore, the importance of finding out the cause first before treatment.

There are more than 200 published studies related to the use of stem cells and back pain.

Do take note that back pain problems may arise from several causes and degenerative disc disease is just one of the many causes of back pain. Therefore, the importance of finding out the cause first (diagnosis) before treatment.

This year alone (2020), there are 20 publications published on "stem cell and back pain" on the National Library of Medicine (PubMed). Clinical trials have been performed to demonstrate safety and efficacy of stem cell back pain management.

Most patients in these studies had significant pain relief. Some patients also revealed reversal of disc degeneration. No patients had any serious complications. Since stem cells are a new development in medicine, there is not an abundance of data. However, the data that exists shows that stem cell injections into the disc results in pain relief and improvement in function.

As of August 2020, 10 studies have been launched to investigate the potential of 'stem cell therapy for back pain' under the U.S. Clinical Trial Registry. You can search the database to look for more details of the clinical trials including the countries and centres that are conducting them.

There is a product currently in phase 3 clinical trials at the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) called Mesoblast. If the results from that study are favourable, then we could have stem cells available for the treatment of degenerative disc disease very soon.

Conclusion: Although some preliminary information has been obtained, much remains to be determined with respect to the best method of stem cell delivery, source of stem cell, numbers of cells to be delivered and the patient selection to receive such therapy. These considerations are common to all potential spine-related stem cell applications.


11. Stem Cell Therapy for Spinal Cord Injury

There are more than 1,800 scientific publications published related to "stem cell" and "spinal cord injury" on the National Library of Medicine.

Just for 2020 alone, there are more than 140 publications published on "stem cell and spinal cord injury" on the National Library of Medicine (PubMed).

As of August 2020, more than 50 studies have been launched to investigate the potential of stem cell therapy for spinal cord injuries under the U.S. Clinical Trial Registry.


12. Stem Cell Therapy for Other Indications

The public may search a database of NIH-sponsored clinical trials at www.clinicaltrials.gov. Enter the search terms of interest (e.g., Parkinson's Disease and stem cells) to search for applicable clinical trials.

For a list of diseases that can be treated with stem cell therapy, check out Listing of Diseases that can be treated with Stem Cell Therapy.


Conclusion

If there are any new major stem cell related evidence that we’ve missed, please let us know in the comments and we’ll add them to the post! Thank you in advance.

> To find stem cell therapy clinics in Malaysia, check out Stem Cell Therapy Clinics in Malaysia.

Read more > Stem Cell

Related: Stem Cell Therapy Price Malaysia


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