Mark Holterman, MD, PhD, teaches surgery and pediatrics at the University of Illinois College of Medicine. As a cofounder of the Alliance for the Advancement of Cellular Therapies (AACT), Dr. Mark Holterman promotes the safe and ethical advancement of regenerative medicine and stem-cell therapies. The following addresses some frequently asked questions about cellular therapies.
Q: What are cellular therapies?
A: Cellular therapy (CT) entails transplanting human cells to enhance the body’s ability to fight disease and restore tissue and cells. When the body is injured, its adult stem cells activate, traveling to the site of the injury and giving signals to start the healing process. With age, the number of these cells decreases. However, with CT, stem cells are taken from bone marrow or fat and implanted at the injured or diseased site when there is an inadequate supply.
Q: For what diseases can cellular therapies be used?
A: Some diseases that cellular therapies may be used for are osteoarthritis and joint pain, autoimmune disorders, alopecia, and psoriasis.
Q: Are cellular therapies ethical?
A: There are no ethical issues involved in adult stem-cell therapy since they are not embryonic stem cells.