What are some of the special considerations for stem cell therapies?
Therapies based on stem cells are largely new and there is a lot that we still need to learn.
To start, there are particular challenges in preparing stem cells for use as a medicine. Unlike drugs, stem cells cannot necessarily be produced and tested for quality in large batches, and treatments may even be specific to one patient.
For most diseases, it is still being determined which cells will work best to repair a particular damaged or diseased tissue, and how to get those cells to the right place in the body.
Furthermore, side effects and long-term safety must be determined, since transplanted cells may remain for many years in patients’ body. Therefore, careful monitoring and extended follow-up of patients who receive stem cell treatments is extremely important.