Does anyomne have experience with stem cell therapy
June 10, 2021 2:09 PM   Subscribe

My mow is nn 90, ina wheelchair and cannot walk on her own whatsoever. We were thinking of trying stem cell therapy based on an ad we saw, She has extreme arthritis and it can be painful. We are in the NJ-NYC area so if anyone has info it is greatly aprreciated. Thank you
posted by Seekerofsplendor to Health & Fitness (7 answers total)
You need to be very careful. Many, if not most, of these "stem cell clinics" are frauds.
posted by praemunire at 2:26 PM on June 10 [11 favorites]

I'm a physician, but an ER doc, so this is not really in my wheelhouse. That said, a brief literature search suggests that, while stem cell therapy for rheumatoid arthritis is very much under active study (the stem cells are thought to have an immunomodulatory effect, decreasing the autoimmune inflammation that underlies RA), that efficacy remains unclear. There doesn't appear to be any role for stem cell therapy in OSTEOarthritis, if that's what your mom has.

I recommend asking a board-certified rheumatologist what he or she thinks about stem cell therapy for your mom's arthritis. Find an academic rheumatologist affiliated with a fancy teaching hospital near you, make your mom an appointment to be seen in their clinic, and ask their advice. That's what I'd do.
posted by killdevil at 2:42 PM on June 10 [13 favorites]

I have a friend 30 years younger than your mom who had stem cell therapy for a knee with arthritis. She had an allergic reaction to thee carrier used for the stem cells, and is now in lots of pain, has lymphedema in that leg (and gets weekly therapy for that), cannot walk as well as prior to the procedure.
As killdevil said, proceed with an abundance of caution.
posted by dbmcd at 3:04 PM on June 10 [1 favorite]

It didn't work at all for my mom. No difference whatsoever.
posted by christinetheslp at 3:45 PM on June 10 [1 favorite]

My aunt and uncle lost a fortune in this quest. Their retirement nest egg, anyway, paying for purported stem cell therapy for my aunt's rheumatoid arthritis. It did nothing for her arthritis, but they lost many, many thousands of dollars chasing one and then another potential cure. Not everyone is a crook and a scammer, which can be very confusing, but there is little scientific scrutiny to the "treatments" offered to yearning patients and families. You need real scientific studies and competent physicians to guide you.

If her arthritis is rheumatoid there are now several very effective medically approved therapies than can make a dramatic difference. Seek a reputable board-certified rheumatologist for expert advice. Osteoarthritis is not thought to be autoimmune, as rheumatoid arthritis is, but more a condition of wear and tear. A physician can still help. In this case I'd recommend an orthopedic or PM & R specialist (Physical medicine and Rehab, a non-surgical approach to orthopedics).

Please don't fall into the trap of the desperate. There are always people to scam the desperate and ill.
posted by citygirl at 7:31 PM on June 10 [2 favorites]

Also, just as an addition to the above, at this point, even if you were to eliminate the arthritis it's likely not the only thing limiting her ambulation. People decondition very easy, there can be difficulties with balance, and general coordination/gait issues in the elderly . At this point there would still be hurdles to moving around independently simply because she is using a wheelchair and hasn't been walking.
posted by AlexiaSky at 3:11 AM on June 11 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thank you all for some very useful information I am truly in awe of Metafilter. You guys are the best.
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 6:39 PM on June 13

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