Makati Medical Center now offering stem cell therapyBy Joy Rojas
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Stem cell therapy is now being offered at Makati Medical Center (MMC) as potential cure for a wide range of illnesses, from various types of cancer and heart ailments to incurable diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
Stem cell therapy is believed to be effective in bone marrow transplant for leukemia patients, and with early intervention, yields desirable results among renal and prostate cancer patients.
Launched in the first year anniversary of the hospital’s cancer center, MMC’s Cellular Therapeutics Laboratory is equipped with technology touted to be “totally unmatched in our country,” says Dr. Francis Chung, scientific officer of the lab. “No system exists elsewhere.”
Employing the strictest sterility standards at par with that of the US Food and Drug Administration, the lab has state-of-the-art facilities. The Clinimacs CD34 Reagent System is a machine that isolates specific cells needed for the procedure, while the Flow Cytomer ensures the purity of cultured cells.
Sourcing the stem cells, however, is what truly sets the Philippines’ premier health institution apart from chi-chi spas that also push stem cell therapy for beauty and anti-aging procedures.
At MMC, healthy stem cells are acquired from the patients themselves, a process known as autologous transplantation. For those suffering from an ailment, a parent, sibling or other close relative could be the donor. The hospital strives for utmost compatibility between patient and donor through a 10-point DNA matching system.
If a battery of tests finds a patient to be up to it, medication is given to prepare him for stem cell harvest.
Under anesthesia, a patient has his stem cells collected, either through his vein or bone marrow. The cells are then cultured and multiplied, and re-administered or injected into a patient.
Side effects, if any, are few: soreness in the injection site, fever and flu-like symptoms.
Improvements arising from a stem cell treatment may be seen in two weeks or in a month.
Neurosurgeon Eric Flores has witnessed near-miraculous results from stem cell therapy in his capacity as assistant professor at the University of Minnesota.
He says it is “the future of medicine. Particularly in stem cell rescue, the success rate is very high. And children’s response to treatment is fantastic.”
Interestingly, the hospital reveals plans to use stem cell therapy in beauty procedures. According to Dr. Flores, who heads MMC’s Cellular Therapeutics Laboratory, a collaboration with Dr. Manuel Fernandez, head of MMC’s Aesthetic Center, will allow specialists to reconstruct a cancer survivor’s breast, with the use of her own cells.
For more information on stem cell therapy, visit MMC’s Cellular Therapeutics Lab, 6/F Tower 2, Makati Medical Center, Amorsolo St., Legaspi Village, Makati, or call 8888999.