Office Visit: Stem Cells and Safety

The Journal Record—December 30, 2014

Many of us remember watching Michael J. Fox testify before Congress to boost stem-cell research for Parkinson's disease. Fox felt stem-cell research was grossly underfunded by the federal government. His message was emotional, captivating his target audience.

Almost 10 years later, stem-cell research and therapy have become a more common household name. But is it safe? Does clinical research and documented trials support its use? Some surgeons would say yes. Many would say there’s not enough information to use it as a cure or healing agent.

Stem-cell therapy in orthopedics is a hot topic and a controversial one. Surgeons hold mixed views.

Dr. Scott Rodeo, clinician scientist at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, believes once a cell is harvested from its native environment it behaves differently. He’s concerned implantation into various types of tissues is an unpredictable procedure. He believes stem cells have an encouraging future in orthopedics, but further information is warranted for clinical applications.

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