Stem cell therapy is one promising form of regenerative medicine in which a patient’s own stem cells (adipose) may be extracted or a donor source (Wharton’s Jelly) can be used to replace or restore damaged tissue. This approach has numerous applications, including the treatment of musculoskeletal conditions, sports injuries, and neurodegenerative conditions. Oftentimes, these conditions are experienced in older adults – who may question: Are my stem cells too old to be used for treatment?
Stem Cell Therapy in Senior Patients
Many senior patients are led to believe that use of their own stem cells for treatment of issues such as orthopedic conditions, including spine, knee, shoulder, and other joint pain, will be ineffective. Thus, they may be encouraged to instead explore other options, such as ineffective over-the-counter painkillers, or invasive procedures. Of course, elderly patients are more at risk for complications from surgeries such as total hip reconstructions or replacements than younger populations.
Fortunately, seniors don’t have to forgo stem cell therapy altogether; they may simply benefit from a specific approach.
Understanding Stem Cell Age
As with all cells, stem cells take on different properties as they age. In particular, the ability to proliferate and clone themselves changes over time. Because these properties directly correlate with stem cells’ healing potential, older cells may not be as powerful for achieving desired clinical outcomes, such as creating new joint cartilage.
With that being said, stem cell therapy is still a viable option for many older adults. The properties of patient-derived stem cells and those provided from umbilical cord tissue are very similar. Nonetheless, the stem cells from umbilical tissues are better able to proliferate, making them a sound option for seniors. For this reason, people 65 and older may be ideal candidates for treatment with umbilical-derived stem cells.
No matter your age, however, finding a stem cell clinic that considers all of your specific needs is essential to ensuring the best possible treatment outcomes. A reputable clinic should explore all possible stem cell therapy options and review key considerations, including possible outcomes and risk factors, with you in detail.
This post was written by Becky Palmer, a medical professional at Stemedix Inc. At Stemedix we provide access to Regenerative Medicine. Regenerative medicine has the natural potential to help improve symptoms sometimes lost from the progression of many conditions.