What is it?
Cell therapy is the injection of cellular material from organs, fetuses, or embryos of animals in order to stimulate the body to correct a wide variety of diseases.
Cell therapy is thought to promote the regeneration of the patient by injecting healthy cells into the body. This method was developed in the 1930's by a Swiss doctor, Paul Niehans, MD. Dr. Niehans discovered this method when he injected a saline solution of parathyroid gland material into a patient whose glands had been damaged during a thyroid surgery. The patient was said to respond immediately and fully recover.
The practice has been banned in the United States since 1985 but has since been practiced in Europe, the Bahamas, Switzerland, and Mexico. The ban was enacted due to the danger of infections and allergic reactions. There are no studies to support the use of cell therapy.
Previously, live cells from freshly killed sheep were used, but this practice is no longer widely used due to the inability to adequately test the cells for sterility before they needed to be injected into the body. The current practice uses freeze dried cells. This process insures sterility and allows the material to be stored for longer periods for future injection. The injections consist of whole cells, cell extracts, specific organ cells, antibodies, and whole embryo preparations. Bio-nutritional treatments include combinations of the cellular material with nutrients and adenosine triphospate (ATP). These treatments are usually given under the tongue, in the nose, or as a rectal suppository.
Proponents of cell therapy claim the cells revitalize the body and stimulate the immune system. Studies at the University of Vienna and Heidelberg have shown that the injected cells will travel to their organs of origin. For example, kidney cells travel to the kidney and liver cells to the liver and then stimulate the weakened organ.
Conditions that have been reported to respond to cell therapy include: impotence, arthritis, heart and circulation problems, menopause, pre-menstrual syndrome, infertility, cystitis, enlarged prostate, herpes, lung problems, cancer, Parkinson's disease, epilepsy, autoimmune diseases, arteriosclerosis, skin problems, hepatitis, and others.
Before treatment, the doctor will take a health history and do a physical exam to determine if cell therapy will be helpful. If cell therapy is appropriate, the doctor will give a test injection to make sure the patient is not allergic to the cellular materials.
Cell therapy is not recommended for patients with poor liver or kidney function, acute infections, or chronic inflammatory disease, such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis. Possible side effects of cell therapy include allergic reactions and fatigue that may last up to two weeks following an injection. There is also a possibility that the body may reject the cellular material, as is often experienced in organ transplants.
For more information:
1. Burton Goldberg Group: Alternative Medicine: The Definitive Guide. Future Medicine Publishing, Puyallup, WA; 1994.
2. Shimmel H & Penzer V: Functional Medicine. Karl F. Haug Verlag GmbH, Heidelberg, Germany; 1996.
3. Woodham A & Peters D: Encyclopedia of Healing Therapies, 1st ed. Dorling Kindersley, NY, NY; 1997.
Last Updated: 6/13/2013
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