Stem cell therapy is no stranger to controversy; it’s labeled a miracle cure by many, yet receives a healthy dose of skepticism from researchers and medical professionals alike. But regardless of the noise surrounding it, stem cell treatment has become a powerful form of regenerative medicine in recent years.
Traditionally, stem cell transplants are used to treat certain types of cancer, specifically leukemia and lymphoma. Even so, stem cell therapy has grown more popular for treating a range of conditions, including autism and multiple sclerosis.
So how exactly can stem cell therapy help? If you’ve exhausted your options and are looking for an alternative to traditional methods, there’s hope yet. While this course of treatment is still in the early stages of research, plenty of GoFundMe community members have found considerable success with it.
What is stem cell therapy?
Stem cell therapy consists of (you guessed it) newly-generated stem cells. These stem cells typically replace diseased or injured cells damaged due to chemotherapy or disease. Stem cells help strengthen the patient’s immune system and replace defective cells, which contribute to degenerative or blood-related diseases. By growing specialized stem cells in the lab and implanting them into the defective organ or tissue, healthy cells can begin to regenerate, and the body will start to repair itself.
How effective is stem cell therapy?
There’s plenty of research supporting the effectiveness of stem cell therapy in blood-related or lymphatic diseases, yet there’s little evidence that it works for other conditions. This is mostly due to a lack of research, as there simply hasn’t been enough clinical trials on the benefits of stem cell therapy in diseases like arthritis or cerebral palsy. As a result, many patients have to rely on anecdotal evidence.
What conditions does stem cell therapy treat?
Most stem cell treatments are in their initial stage of research, with the exception of transplants used to treat cancer patients. Currently, the only FDA-approved stem cell-based treatment is for umbilical cord blood-derived stem cells for blood cancers and other disorders.
Thanks to the growing popularity of stem cell treatment, however, patients can find a number of clinics that promise to relieve pain or help regain declining motor skills, all with a single stem cell injection. Hundreds of conditions fall under this umbrella, with promises of curing blood disorders like sickle cell anemia, to autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis.
Where can I receive treatment?
In spite of a lack of government funding, there are hundreds of centers in the US which offer stem cell therapy. Some of these clinics have little to no regulation. But don’t let this discourage you. Even if some clinics skirt around FDA approval, there are plenty of reputable centers that have helped thousands of people.
What are the possible risks or side effects?
Side effects are a given, no matter your treatment plan. But the risk of stem cell therapy can add an element of surprise (to put it lightly). Because of the lack of clinical studies, published results on possible side effects are hard to find, specifically for treatments in the early stages of research. To date, there are a number of documented cases of stem cell treatment leading to tumors and lesions.
You should look out for:
- Mouth sores
- Rejection of donated cells
Sometimes these side effects are a consequence of additional treatments, especially if the patient is receiving chemotherapy at the same time.
How much does stem cell therapy cost?
The cost of stem cell therapy is dependent on your condition and what’s accepted as the traditional course of treatment. In instances of leukemia or lymphoma, a bone marrow or stem cell transplant is a clinically-proven treatment that has a higher chance of insurance coverage.
When it comes to other diseases and disorders, it becomes much harder to get funding through your health insurance. Many people have to subsequently pay out-of-pocket for stem cell treatment. This doesn’t take into account travel expenses, as many people have to go out of town (or even out of the country) to get the help they need.
How crowdfunding can help offset costs
For anyone hoping to try stem cell therapy, crowdfunding can be a way to raise money for treatment where health insurance falls short. Crowdfunding allows you to reach out to friends, family—even strangers—and to rally them around your cause.
Starting a fundraiser can help secure funds faster than if you were to go through other channels. That way you can avoid medical loans or being footed with a giant bill that takes years to pay off. While there are several options for crowdfunding, make sure you find the platform with the lowest fees. GoFundMe has a 0% platform fee, and you can begin withdrawing money as soon as you receive donations. Medical fundraising is a great tool to offset stem cell treatment costs. Start your stem cell campaign today.
What GoFundMe organizers have said about stem cell therapy
“For those of you who are considering stem cell treatment here’s a few tips:
New regulations are coming out soon, this is a great step forward. Don’t be alarmed, this will mean more transparency for patients and more accountability for specialists. This is a good thing. Yes, the cost of stem cell treatment will rise because of this. It sucks but it’s the only way we can continue to regulate and research this treatment. We are moving forward, that’s all that matters.
Ask questions, ask them again, ask them until you have exhausted every person on the team treating you. This is your body, your money, your life. Ask again. Good luck.”
Fundraiser: Go Fund Kerryn – Stem Cell Therapy
“Since her first stem cell treatment Hayden has improved SO much cognitively. She maintains full eye contact, she is aware that her limbs are connected to her body now! Her inflammation is gone, and she’s purposefully moving both arms from her shoulders.”
Fundraiser: Stem cell therapy for Hayden Butler