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Cellular Therapies Boost Body’s Ability to Heal Itself

Mark Holterman

A University of Illinois College of Medicine professor, Mark Holterman, MD, possesses more than two decades of experience in pediatric medicine and surgery. A researcher into the use of adult cell therapy treatments, Dr. Mark Holterman also cofounded the Alliance for the Advancement of Cellular Therapies (AACT) and serves on its board of executives. The AACT focuses on the advancement of cellular therapies.

Cellular therapies involve transplanting human cells into a patient to replicate or repair damaged cells or tissues. Injury to the body triggers a response from adult stem cells, causing them to move to the injury site and send signals to surrounding organs and tissues to initiate the healing process. However, disease and age can decrease the body’s stem cell count. Transplanted cells revitalize the healing process and help the body fight disease and restore compromised tissue. Physicians harvest cells from an abundant source, either from another person or a different part of the patient’s body. They may collect cells from an assortment of stem cell sources, such as bone marrow, the pancreas, and skeletal muscle.
In addition to repairing damaged tissue and healing injuries, cellular therapies can help combat a range of difficult diseases. Physicians may use stem cells to ease joint pain or delay surgeries associated with osteoarthritis and other joint-related disease. Scientific research also indicates that cellular therapies may benefit patients with auto-immune diseases, particularly when using stem cells derived from the umbilical cord.

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