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The Purpose of Cellular Therapies

Mark Holterman

A longtime practitioner of pediatric medicine, Mark Holterman, MD, works in the pediatric general surgery department at the Children’s Hospital of Illinois. Outside of his work in this field, Dr. Mark Holterman maintains a professional interest in stem cell therapy as cofounder of the Alliance for the Advancement of Cellular Therapies (AACT).

Cellular therapy, or CT, refers to the process of transplanting cells in patients who are experiencing varying levels of tissue or cell damage. These cells harness their natural power of rehabilitation to facilitate improved bodily healing. Physicians can use a number of cell types to elicit this result in patients. Lymphocytes, skeletal muscle stem cells, and hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) are just a few that medical professionals employ in cellular therapy today.
When used clinically, many of these cells types have proven their efficacy at treating certain medical conditions. For example, physicians can take stem cells obtained from the site of an injury and transplant them in that area to expedite the healing process. However, HSC treatment has emerged as the most widely used of all cell therapies, particularly among patients who have certain types of blood cancer. In the future, physicians may be able use cellular therapy to treat a number of other conditions, including autoimmune disorders and tendonitis.

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