What is Stem cell Therapy? Pros and cons of Autologous and Allogeneic stem cell transplant

What is Stem cell Transplantation? Pros and cons of Autologous and Allogeneic stem cell transplant

Stem cell Therapy is most advanced and controversial subject in the field of science. Stem cell Therapy is most advanced and promising option for some of the diseases because treatment doesn’t involve any surgery and can be treated with very less side effect compared to chemotherapeutic drugs available in the market. It is controversial because religious people think human cloning is unethical.

If you don’t know about stem cells and their Biology you can refer to my previous post.

Stem cell Therapy is a most promising treatment for diseases like Parkinson’s diseases, Alzerhmir diseases, a leukemia-related disease like Acute Leukemia, Chronic Leukemia, Myelodysplastic Syndromes, Lymphomas, Other Disorders of Blood Cell Proliferation etc. Private and public research organizations along with the well-known scientists are working on hundreds of Stem cell project to find a solution for various diseases which mankind is suffering from a long time.

Check out the list of various Stem cell research organizations working Stem cell project.

What is Stem cell Therapy? How does it help to cure diseases?

Stem Cell Therapy is a branch of regenerative medicine in which injured and damaged part of the body is treated with the help of injection of unique and undifferentiated cells which can grow and replicate in the human body to produce different tissues of the body. These kinds of cells are called Pluripotent Stem cells which are found inside the healthy human body.

Treatment of disease with the help of stem cells is called Stem cell therapy. The process of extraction, cultivation, and injection of stem cells into the body of the patient to cure the disease is called as Stem cell Transplantation.

Stem cell Therapy is conducted with the help of 2 kinds of stem cells:

Autologous Stem cell Transplantation:

 In Stem cell Therapy using Autologous Stem cell Transplantation, persons own (either adult or embryonic) stem cells are extracted, cultivated and injected back to patients own body.

Unlike Allogeneic stem cell transplant, this procedure:

Doesn’t offer the benefits of graft versus tumor (GVL) effect when healthy donor cells attack cancer cells. And doesn’t carry the risk of transplantation rejection due to graft versus host reaction.

Allogeneic Stem cell Transplantation:

 In Stem cell Therapy using Allogeneic Stem cell Transplantation, donor stem cells are used for stem cell transplantation. The donor should be healthy without any genetic disorder and any cancerous diseases. The donor can be any family member, siblings or unknown person with matching HLA type.

Allogeneic Stem cell transplantation exhibits the problem of the host to graft reaction.

What is Stem cell Banking?

Stem cell bank is the extraction and storage of adult and or embryonic stem cell in the laboratory for the purpose of future Stem cell transplantation. Stem cells can be stored in any of Private or Public Stem cell bank available in the residing country.

Is it worth to do stem cell banking in Private Stem cell Banks?

Private Stem cells provide the opportunity to store our own stem cells with various costs and Storage plans available, storing in Private lab or clinic has its own advantage and disadvantage.


  • Stem cells as a regenerative medicine used to treat hundreds of deadly diseases which otherwise difficult to cure in any other alternative methods available.
  • Due to the high percentage of a match in human leukocytes antigen (HLA) among Siblings and other family members, once stored stem can be utilized to treat own diseases or can be used for other family members like siblings.
  • Chances of transplantation rejection are very less in the case of Autologous Stem cell Transplantation.
  • Storing stem cell in Stem cell banks has the advantage of using our own Autologous Stem cell without the need to search for matching donor in the donor registry.
  • There won’t be any ethical issue with the use of our own stem cell for transplantation.


  • The procedure of storing stem cell in private clinic or laboratory is very costly.
  • Most of the insurance policy doesn’t bear cost involved in Stem cell related activities like Storing of Stem cell, Stem cell transplantation etc.
  • It’s uncertain with the quality of stem cell available after few years due to poor storage or company which Store stem cell may stop the functionalities.
  • It’s not proven scientifically on how many years we can store stem cell for medical use.
  • Due to Inherited disease, peoples with genetic disease can’t store and use autogenic stem cells for the treatment.
  • Stem cell transplant using induced pluripotent stem cell offers a huge advantage over embryo or bone marrow stem cell transplant. Hence its worth to go with induced stem cell instead of storing stem cell for a long year.

What is Public Stem cell Bank? Is it useful to donate stem cells to public stem cell banks?

Public Stem cell bank is an either voluntary or government funded organization which collect and Store donor stem cell for free of cost. Stem cells stored in Public Stem cell bank are available to the public for free of cost.

Facts about Public Stem cell Bank:

  • Public Stem cell Banks are non-Profit organization hence Stem cells storing is completely free of cost.
  • Stem cells in Public Stem cell Banks are available for anyone in the world irrespective of Gender, race discrimination.
  • Public Stem cell bank is a good option for peoples who don’t find a matching donor among their family and friends. For example, peoples with autoimmune disease can’t use their own stem cell for Stem cell transplantation.
  • Stem cells donated to Public Stem cell bank may or may not available for own use.
  • 70% of Stem cells collected in Public Stem cell bank are thrown out due to the low quality of cells or due to contamination.
  • Due to lack of facilities or due to unavailability of staffs, extraction of stem cell may not be possible all the time.
  • Most of the time, Stem cells collected by public stem cell banks may be of low quality with very less high-quality Pluripotent Stems cells available in the overall sample collection.

What is Stem Cell Donation?

Stem cell donation is a voluntary act where a healthy person donates his stem cell to public Stem cell bank or directly to the patient who is looking for stem cell donor. Adult Stem cells or Stem cells derived from Cord blood of Umbilical cord can be used for Stem cell donation. Allogeneic Stem cell Transplantation is performed using Stem cell donated from healthy matching Stem cell donor.

Stem Donor Registry:

Stem cell Donor registry is a collection of data about the stem cell donor and their complete medical history like HLA typing details, pre-diseases history, age, body mass etc. There are various software which stores and provides easy access to data related to stem cell donor.

If you have not come across any of donor registry, take a look at the list of Public Stem cell donor registry.

Human leukocyte antigen (HLA) and its importance in Stem cell transplantation?

The human leukocyte antigen (HLA) system or complex is a gene complex encoding the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) proteins in humans. The HLA complex helps the immune system distinguish the body’s own proteins from proteins made by foreign invaders such as viruses and bacteria. Humans have three main MHC class I genes, known as HLA-A, HLA-B, and HLA-C. The proteins produced from these genes are present on the surface of almost all cells.

Human leukocyte antigen (HLA) typing is used to match patient with a donor for bone marrow or cord blood transplant. This is not the same as ABO blood typing. The immune system uses HLA markers to know which cells are own body cells and which do not. The best transplant outcome happens only when a patient’s HLA and the donor’s HLA closely match.

The role of HLA matching:

HLA matching is important because of a close HLA match:

  • Increases the likelihood of a successful transplant.
  • Improves engraftment—when the donated cells start to grow and make new blood cells in the patient.
  • Reduces the risk of complications after transplant, especially graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). GVHD is a potentially serious complication. GVHD occurs when the immune cells, which are part of the donated marrow or cord blood, attack patient’s body.

HLA matching requirements:

  • There are many HLA markers. Each HLA marker has a name. The names are letters or combinations of letters and numbers. Doctors review at least 8 HLA markers for these minimum requirements: two A markers, two B markers, two C markers, and two DRB1 markers. Some doctors look for an additional marker, called DQ, to match.
  • An adult donor must match at least 6 of these 8 HLA markers. Many transplant centers require at least a 7 of 8 matches. Because cord blood cells are less mature than adult donor cells they have less strict matching criteria. A cord blood unit must match at least 4 of 6 markers at HLA-A, -B, and -DRB1. These guidelines are based on scientific studies of transplant results.

Other factors for a successful transplant:

  • The number of blood-forming cells needs to be suitable for the size of the patient. Larger patients need more blood-forming cells. Cord blood units have fewer cells than adult donors. Sometimes, more than one cord blood unit is needed for a patient.
  • Different donor characteristics have an impact on a transplant’s success. These include the donor’s: Age, Gender, Blood type, Body size, the number of times a female donor has been pregnant.
  • If more than one well-matched adult donor is found for you, your doctor will look at these factors.
  • Infection history can also affect transplant outcomes and choice of a donor. Before the transplant, it is recommended by doctors to test patients and donors for a common virus called cytomegalovirus (CMV).


To find the donor for your transplant therapy you can make use of Match View portal from the BE THE MATCH organization. 

What are Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs)?

Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) are derived from skin or blood cells that have been reprogrammed back into an embryonic-like pluripotent state that enables the development of an unlimited source of any type of human cell needed for therapeutic purposes. iPSC-based therapies are ideal because they use a patient’s own cells, preventing complications such as immune system rejection. In addition, scientists can use iPSCs to produce the large amounts of cells needed for disease research, tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Major limitations that currently impede the application of iPSCs include the lack of highly reproducible and well-defined procedures required to generate, characterize and differentiate patient-specific iPSCs safely for pre-clinical and clinical use.

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One thought on “What is Stem cell Therapy? Pros and cons of Autologous and Allogeneic stem cell transplant

  1. […] Donating stem cell is not a monetized process instead it’s a volunteer act in which a health donor donate few health stem cell for volunteer organization which preserves and donates it matching recipients who are in need of health stem cell for their treatments. Just like blood donation, Stem cell donation helps to save much life who are suffering from many diseases. Donating stem cell in Private banks have the advantage of the usage of our own stem cell for any future Stem cell treatment but it has its own disadvantages compared to Storing stem cell in Public stem cell banks. Check out the advantage and disadvantage of Public and Private Stem cell Banking.  […]

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