Presented to the AACT 2015 Conference
The frustration of modern medicine is that, despite all advances of modern science, practicing physicians currently have limited treatment options for certain devastating diseases. We have methods for controlling symptoms and improving quality of life, but reversing the underlying pathophysiology and obtaining a cure is particularly elusive. The field of cell therapy and regenerative medicine, after its initial hype, is slowly and methodically providing new treatment options for a variety of diseases ranging from neurodegenerative (e.g. Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s) to autoimmune (e.g. multiple sclerosis, diabetes, alopecia) to degenerative conditions associated with trauma or aging (e.g. spinal cord injury, osteoarthritis, wound healing, infertility) to genetic diseases (e.g., hemophilia, sickle cell disease, muscular dystrophy). Encouraging clinical trials using cell therapies from various parts of the world simultaneously offer hope to desperate patients, and engender skepticism among careful physicians well-schooled in the mantra of “First, Do No Harm” and thus are uncertain about the promises and limitations of cell therapies. Patients are placed in the difficult position of deciding on whether to travel and spend personal savings for treatment options based on their own research and without the support of their trusted physicians. To advance this field, a comprehensive, collaborative solution is in development. The goal of The Alliance for the Advancement of Cellular Therapies (AACT) is to facilitate conversation between regulatory agencies, health care providers, scientists, elected officials and patients to move the field forward. AACT seeks to coordinate and support a series of well- publicized and scrutinized Phase I trials treating devastating diseases with the over-arching goal of developing safe and effective clinical options.
To cite this article
The Dilemma of Difficult Diseases: Cell Therapy to the Rescue?
CellR4 2015; 3 (5): e1636
Published online: 11 Sep 2015