Keep up with Armagh i

Inexpensive Stem Cell Therapies: Myth or Reality?

Stem cell treatment options can vary in cost depending on the condition being treated, the complexity of the therapy, the duration of treatment and a number of other factors.

In general, stem cell therapy is quite expensive, and can cost anywhere between $10,000 and $30,000 or more. So are there any inexpensive options, or are they a myth?

What Stem Cells Are and How They Work

First, let’s make sure we understand the different stem cell treatment options that are available.

A reputable clinic will be able to advise patients on the best treatment for their condition, as well as any impact this may have on the overall stem cell treatment cost.

Different Types of Stem Cell Therapies

Stem cell treatment centers like Swiss Medica offer a number of different types of therapies, including:

  • MMSCs (Multipotent Mesenchymal Stromal Cells) which may be obtained from the patient’s adipose tissue and other parts of the body
  • SVF (Stromal Vascular Fraction) which contains MMSCs and other stem cells, endothelial cells, fibroblasts, immune cells and others

MMSCs are cultivated under sterile conditions in the laboratory before being included in a stem cell treatment; on the other hand, SVF can be extracted via a simple liposuction procedure and can be used within 2-3 hours of that extraction.

The Potential Benefits and Risks Associated with Stem Cell Therapies

A reputable stem cell therapy center will always provide patients with an honest assessment of the benefits and risks of stem cell therapy for their specific condition.

Benefits can vary depending on the overall health of the patient, and the best outcomes can require multiple treatments, longer inpatient stays at the clinic, and increased overall cost.

The risks associated with stem cell therapies are generally not an obstacle to treatment. Some perceived risks (e.g. malignancies) are particularly associated with embryonic stem cells, which are no longer widely used due to ethical concerns.

Faster transplantation of stem cells after harvesting may also reduce the risk of malignancies, as reported in the journal Cells in 2020, and inpatient procedures at specialist clinics allow for any such delay to be kept to a minimum.

As such, for the vast majority of patients, the positive outcomes of stem cell therapy will far outweigh the minimal risks – and the relevant healthcare provider should always provide full information upfront about any specific risk factors.

The Cost of Stem Cell Therapies

Stem cell treatment cost at clinics like Swiss Medica comprise a number of elements:

  • Cost of harvesting and culturing stem cells
  • Cost of maintaining a staff of medical experts
  • Cost of inpatient visits and round-the-clock care

Individual circumstances like the severity of illness and the presence of comorbidities can also affect the cost of stem cell therapy overall.

Early intervention – particularly in the case of progressive illnesses like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease – is a good way to keep total costs down, by preventing the condition from progressing to its later stages, where healthcare can be more expensive.

The real-term cost of stem cell therapy must also be measured in terms of productivity, as early treatment can allow patients to remain in work for longer, and reduce their reliance on state benefits and health insurance.

The Myth of Inexpensive Stem Cell Therapies

The future of stem cell therapy in Europe depends on the ability of research organizations to develop new, highly effective stem cell treatments. A large number of clinical trials are underway at any given time, with the goal of improving patient outcomes.

However, research is expensive: EuroStemCell, an EU Horizon 2020-funded partnership that provides stem cell information and education to European citizens, warns of the financial risks posed to companies that research stem cell therapies.

EuroStemCell adds: “On the other hand, regenerative medicine treatments are very different than standard drugs; they have the potential to cure.”

Because of this, a visit to a stem cell clinic may be more costly upfront but could cost less than an endless series of hospital stays and treatments using conventional medicines.

The cost of stem cell therapy strikes a balance between the high expense of research and the reduced need for further medical intervention in the future, which is why inexpensive stem cell therapies are still largely a myth.

Final Thoughts

Stem cell clinics offer the best standard of care possible, with highly qualified healthcare practitioners backed by cutting-edge research, all of which costs money.

The best place to get stem cell treatment is rarely the least expensive; however, by eliminating the need for later procedures, stem cell therapies can be more cost-effective in real terms than they initially appear.

Main image: Photo by RDNE Stock project.

Sign Up To Our Newsletter

Most read today

More in UK News