Are stem cells the answer?

Friday, 01 February 2013 From Issue Vol. XXI No. 5

Are stem cells the answer to curing many diseases? Stem cells are biological cells found in all multi-cellular organisms that can divide (through mitosis) and differentiate into diverse specialized cell types, and can self-renew to produce more stem cells.

(This is how Wikipedia defines the term.) The speaker at the Sunday, January 20 meeting of the Pattaya City Expats Club spoke about the potential for using stem cells currently being researched as well as their current use for some medical care. Princess Dyanne Sumabal was the speaker on this interesting subject. She is originally from the Philippines, is a registered nurse, and works as a International Marketing Executive with Bangkok Hospital Pattaya.

Princess Dyanne Sumabal, International Marketing Executive at Bangkok Pattaya Hospital, talks about stem cells, and the question “are they the answer to curing many diseases?” Research has been conducted for many years, and now a few treatments are becoming available using stem cells. Bangkok Pattaya Hospital has a treatment for osteoarthritis using stem cells, which follows suppression of the immune system using a special gel called ‘Crespine’.Princess Dyanne Sumabal, International Marketing Executive at Bangkok Pattaya Hospital, talks about stem cells, and the question “are they the answer to curing many diseases?” Research has been conducted for many years, and now a few treatments are becoming available using stem cells. Bangkok Pattaya Hospital has a treatment for osteoarthritis using stem cells, which follows suppression of the immune system using a special gel called ‘Crespine’.

If a young child is ill with a blood-related cancer, such as leukemia or lymphoma, often the parents are advised to have another baby. This is because one of the best treatments for these cancers consists of implanting bone marrow stem cells from a donor. Siblings make the best donors because the new bone marrow from the donor must match the genetic makeup of the patient’s own marrow as perfectly as possible.  Bone marrow contains a rich supply of stem cells, which are very useful in treating leukemia and certain other diseases and conditions, Princess Dyanne said. Other sources of stem cells are the bloodstream (often called peripheral blood) and umbilical cord blood.

Board member David Garmaise talks about his experience getting a SIM card for his new iPhone.Board member David Garmaise talks about his experience getting a SIM card for his new iPhone.

Princess Dyanne explained that haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is a complex medical procedure to implant stem cells in a patient. To date, it is the only proven clinical use of stem cells. The Bangkok Hospital in Bangkok performs HSCT. There is a two-bed unit set aside for HSCT patients. The hospital treats 10-15 patients a year in this unit.

Princess Dyanne said there is research being conducted on the use of stem cells to treat osteoarthritis in the knee, and that the results have been promising. The stems cells are used to generate new cells in the knee. Before the stem cells can be implanted, the patient’s symptoms have to be suppressed. This is done through an injection of a special gel. CRESPINE®GEL is the brand name of one such gel, but there are others. Princess Dyanne stressed that this treatment is still being researched and is not yet generally available.

The Bangkok Hospital Pattaya does have three methods currently available to treat knee osteoarthritis: (1) physical rehabilitation; (2) minimally invasive surgery (there are several kinds); and (3) pharmacological agents, such as analgesics, corticosteroids and hyaluronic acid injections. She noted that the use of a gel to reduce symptoms is only effective if there is still some cartilage left in the knee, and that the gel is not suitable for other conditions such as osteoporosis, which is a disease of the bones, or sciatic nerve pain.

After Princess Dyanne answered several questions from the audience, Master of Ceremonies Richard Silverberg provided an update on upcoming events and called on Roy Albiston to conduct the Open Forum where questions are asked and answered about Expat living in Thailand; Pattaya in particular.

For more information about the many activities of the Pattaya City Expats Club, visit their website at www.pattayacityexpatsclub.com.

Hawaii Bob advises the location of Frugal Freddy’s regular visits to some of Pattaya’s better value, but great food restaurants.Hawaii Bob advises the location of Frugal Freddy’s regular visits to some of Pattaya’s better value, but great food restaurants.

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