Stem cell treatment, solution for terminal diseases
From WALTER UKAEGBU, Abuja
Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Transplanted cells bring life back by replenishing or repairing the cells of damaged organs. According to Dr Perry Iloegbunam, Chairman, Stem Cell Transplantation Centre for Africa (STEMCETA) and National Committee on the Research and Application of Stem Cell Transplantation Technology in Nigeria (NACRASTIN), “essentially stem cells are essential building blocks of all body tissues and organ. They are unspecialised human or animal cells that can produce diverse mature unspecialised cells.

These cells have two important properties, self renewal ability to go through numerous cycles of cell division while maintaining the undifferentiated state and potency – the capacity to develop into specialised cell types.

He disclosed that the goal of stem cell therapy is to facilitate repair of damaged tissue and organs which is done by transplanting stem cells into damaged area and directing them to grow and produce new healthy cells replacing damaged tissues and organs.

He said this fast growing technology was first introduced in Nigeria in 2001 by his organization and operates in partnership with best brain in the world and in the field of stem cell, regenerative medicine among others.
Iloegbunam stated that as events unfold in global contemporary medicine STEMCETA in 2007 collaborated with NADBA/FMST to host an international workshop on “stem cell transplantation as medicine of the 21st century which eventually led to the appointment of the president of STEMCETA, Dr Perry Iloegbunam as the Chairman of the National Technical Committee (NACRASTIN) adding that STEMCETA had single-handedly funded NACRASTIN activities from the onset.

Stating the achievements, he explained that it is by distributing stem cell textbooks and other printed materials to almost all teaching hospitals and health institutions, universities, relevant stakeholders from MDAs and professional bodies in Nigeria at no cost. Funding all meetings and operation of NACRASTIN in Nigeria from inception to date by 100percent.

Also by creating the draft bill on stem cell therapy act and National guidelines which is almost completed, while in 2005/2006 it successfully carried out clinical trials at the Annunciation Specialist Hospital in Enugu which has proven very efficacious as witnessed and confirmed by Federal Government through the National Biotechnology among other achievements.

He disclosed that his group got the Federal Government through the Ministry of Science and Technology to key into stem cell technology leading to the constitution and inauguration of the National Committee on the Research and Application of Stem Cell Transplantation Technology in Nigeria.
Iloegbunam stated that as far as STEMCETA as technical partners to NACRASTIN are concerned Nigeria is ripe for full stem cell treatment for incurable diseases.

According to him stem cell therapy which has been in clinical practice for about 100 years in advanced world can be used in the treatment of cancers, diabetes, mellitus, arthritis, hepatitis and sickle cell anaemia among others.
Others include Parkinson, stroke, kidney disorder, liver, lungs, heart disease, genetic and chromosomal disease and other birth disorders in children. It also includes male and female infertility, early menopause and some other serious gynecological disease can also be treated with guarantee by stem cell therapies.
He advised that Nigerian should commence stem cell transplantation treatment in the approved six teaching hospitals as treatment centres.

The medical practitioner said the commencement of the stem cell treatment in Nigeria will reduce to the barest minimum diseases. “The treatment of tumors is primarily focused on radiation, surgery and chemotherapy. These treatment modalities are traditionally known ways of combating cancer and are all based on destroying cancer cells by burning them with radiation, poisoning them via chemotherapy and removing them through invasive surgery,” he said.

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