(Ivanhoe Newswire/WTVM) - Using embryonic stem cells in medical research is a controversial topic. Using adult stem cells to cure disease has nothing to do with embryos, and is showing great promise for curing a wide variety of chronic conditions. Now, doctors are using a patient's own stem cells to heal without surgery.
Elsa Rosa can't walk without pain. Doctors say she needs two knee replacements. Instead, she's trying something new, stem cells harvested from her own body to heal her knee.
"I would like to be active again. I'm young at heart," Rosa said.
Doctors use liposuction to extract fat cells from Rosa's abdomen. The cells are separated, concentrated and treated. The doctor injects her own stem cells back into her knee, where they will grow and hopefully, heal the damage.
"It's a great option for Rosa, because we're seeing about 85 percent of knees respond," says Bill Johnson, MD, Internal Medicine Specialist of Innovations Medical in Dallas, TX.
Stem cells harvested from your own body have the ability to reproduce and become cartilage, bone and muscle.
"Well, it is remarkable. I think that we're seeing some really remarkable changes in responses in a lot of our patients," Johnson said.
Rosa is just hoping to walk again pain-free, without going through the discomfort of knee replacement surgery or the inconvenience of rehabilitation.
Adult stem cells are being used in clinical trials all over the country to treat everything from chronic pain, joint problems, erectile dysfunction and COPD.
The FDA still considers stem cell therapy experimental, and insurance companies typically will not cover the procedures.