Interview with Dr Mayorga: “The objective of stem cell treatment is to regenerate tissues and organs”
The treatment with stem cells is one of the most significant medical advances of our era and a field in permanent growth due to the number of open research lines. SHA Wellness Clinic is aware of its importance due to its multiple therapeutic uses and its head of the Regenerative Medicine area, Dr Óscar Mayorga, answers in this interview the main open questions regarding its use and effectiveness.
What are stem cells?
They are cells, also called progenitor cells that can be of various types. But mainly we can talk about embryonic stem cells, which are the ones that give rise to the embryo and adult stem cells, which in turn give rise to different tissues of the body. The latter are the ones used in cellular regeneration therapies.
How are they obtained?
Adult mesenchymal cells can be obtained from various tissues, including the umbilical cord, placenta, dental pulp, bone marrow or fat. These last two tissues contain the most considerable amount, mostly fat. We obtain them using bone marrow or fat sample, which is done by aspiration under local anaesthesia.
What is the objective of all stem cell treatment?
Basically to regenerate tissues and organs. This means that by infiltrating them into the injured structures, such as a joint, they are fixed at the site of the injury. By signalling and stimulating the surrounding tissue cells, as well as by cell replication, they produce new cells and new tissue.
What therapeutic areas are involved in this process?
Currently, they have multiple uses in the areas of orthopaedics, traumatology and sports medicine in cases of injury and trauma. Also in pathologies such as arthritis or arthrosis, in muscular injuries. In dermatology and aesthetics are used extensively in facial and body rejuvenation. It has been working on clinical trials for nerve and spinal cord injuries, and lately, it is useful in stimulating the immune system. It has also been found helpful in patients who have suffered lung damage from COVID 19 applied directly by nebulization.
Who is it indicated for?
For patients who have chronic or degenerative diseases such as those we have named, or for injuries and trauma. From very young people to older people with very few contraindications.
How do you justify the interest of the scientific community in your research?
Because in recent years it has shown itself to be an excellent therapeutic weapon. And not only in stem cells themselves but also in autologous plasma and exosomes, among other cellular by-products, with a great future in situ regeneration and even in tissue and organ engineering.
What are the open lines of research on possible future applications? Diabetes, Parkinson’s, heart conditions…?
At the moment, there are many lines of research in immunomodulation and pancreatic stimulation in diabetic patients. In neurology, there are multiple studies in diseases such as Parkinson’s and other pathologies of the nervous system, including spinal cord injuries. In cardiac pathologies, there are several lines of research that include post-inflammatory lesions or valve lesions, among others. And in orthopaedics is perhaps where more studies are being conducted at this time, and with excellent results. For example, it is being observed that, contrary to what was believed, cartilage and other joint tissues can also regenerate.