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A Rare Side Effects of Stem Cell Therapy: A Case Study

By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 18 May 2017 | comments*Discuss
Stem Cells Rare Side-effects Tumour

There is no doubt that stem cell therapy holds enormous potential. Unfortunately, this potential also brings with it side-effects, some particularly severe. Such was the case during a therapy that used human foetal stem cells.

The boy in the case suffered from a rare genetic disease known as Ataxia Telangiectasia. This disorder affects many areas of the body and can cause significant disability. The body does not coordinate properly and those who suffer from the disease have a weak immune system as well as problems with their respiratory system.

Unexpected Consequences of Stem Cell Therapy

After undergoing foetal stem cell therapy at a clinic, the boy developed abnormal growths in his brain and spinal cord. The growths were found approximately four years after he had received the stem cell therapy.

While there have been some cases reported where experimentation on rodents resulted in the growth of tumours after stem cell injection, this hadn't been documented in humans after foetal stem cell therapy. Researchers also knew that this risk in rodents could be reduced if the stem cells were differentiated before they were injected. This means that the stem cells were coaxed into the desired body cell for the therapy prior to injection.

Examining a Benign Tumour

But how did the researchers know that in this boy's case, the tumour was indeed from the stem cell therapy? It was all understood after the spinal cord growth was operated on and removed from the boy. Doctors found that it looked like a glioneuronal tumour, which is a benign kind of neural tumour. After more examination, it was determined that this tumour couldn't have stemmed from the boy's own tissues.

A Weakened Immune System

As they tried to understand what went wrong, they considered that the very weak immune system that is commonly seen in Ataxia Telangiectasia could have contributed to the growth. In a sense, the boy's body was an ideal vessel to nourish the growth of this kind of tumour.

In a person who has a healthy immune system, the normal 'checks' on the body would be more likely to prevent a tumour from establishing itself. We have known for some time now that there is the potential for stem cells to trigger the growths of tumours but the reality has been that this is a rarity.

What it Means for Stem Cell Research

Although this rare side-effect of stem cell therapy may be used as part of a case against stem cell research, this would not be a fair approach. Even the authors of the report state that their findings do not imply that we should stop stem cell research.

Rather than put a stop to stem cell research, it has been suggested that we need to spend more time looking at the Safety of Stem Cells. We should try to find out more about what can potentially go wrong and then develop safeguards to reduce any risks associated with stem cell therapies. This way, we can get the most benefits from stem cells while minimising any chances of side-effects along the way.

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Stem cell works magic. Do not fear using it.Am aphytoscientist and a trend maker in kenya n i have seen how it changes lives.
jacky - 18-May-17 @ 10:06 PM
My wife (age 56) suffered from stroke. Since 2013. Last year 2016 she got her second stroke. Since then...... She was bedreden . I want to take stem cell.. Is there any side effect. Please help me.... Can you advise??
Saiful - 9-Feb-17 @ 2:15 PM
I am suffering with ulcer, I feel pain at my ribs, heart pain, fast heart beat and fibroid and also cough. I am taking this double stem cell. will it work and how long should I take it? Please I need an urgent reply to my mail.
Momisco - 13-Jan-17 @ 7:53 PM
My friend has stretch makes and she want to know if she can take DS for the treatment
Kent - 29-Nov-16 @ 6:41 AM
That is good result for my grand mother
golu - 14-Aug-16 @ 11:28 AM
What kind of stem cell used for stroked patient? And what are the common side effects? Thanks and God bless
Maco - 10-Aug-16 @ 5:02 PM
I was 25..can I go through stem cell therapy...will the hair regrows...will there be any side effects...how much it costs..and we have to do any maintenance...pls pls.....advice me....
Michael - 1-May-16 @ 2:02 PM
Anybody having any doubt of double stemcells. Contact on my no +918989983999
Gully - 28-Apr-16 @ 8:21 AM
Hai am 26 ,I am suffering from hair loss.I want to do for stemcell therapy is good or bad get any side effects .please suggest me
Raji - 24-Feb-16 @ 5:01 AM
I am 25 years old women and I am losing my hairs since long time and now I want to take steam cell therpy so please suggest me is it effective or not.because I took many treatment for hair loss and all doctor tested my blood for everything and all report were normal.so now I want to take stem cell so please help me for this.
Mani - 22-Jan-16 @ 4:27 PM
Hello,my son have autism (PHD) and have speech issue and i want t omake stem cell theorapy but i dont know if there is risk on this or any side effect can you advise?
hoka - 9-Nov-15 @ 5:02 PM
I take double stem cell for 2 days n felt dizzy and nausea. on the 2nd day my blood sugar shootto 10.4...is it ok?. is it true what they say that I am undergoing healing crisis and after a short period it will be normal? can I continue taking double stem cell...please need advice a.s.a.p
non - 25-Sep-15 @ 4:10 AM
I felt dizzy n nausea after taking double stem cell for 2 days. on the second day my blood sugar level shoot to 10.4.....I am diabetec...is it ok? is it healing crisis? please need answer a.s.a.p
non - 25-Sep-15 @ 4:06 AM
M thinking fr steam cell hairtransplantplease suggest me
vinod - 21-Aug-15 @ 1:06 PM
As such risk remains, there should be related ways help out and make stem cell therapy accessible with less such rare but severe side effects.-BOC Sciences Inhibitors
AdaBrown - 13-Aug-15 @ 9:11 AM
Planning to undergo stem cells therapy due to hair loss. Plz advice.Is any consequences after the surgery? I'm just 26 , bald.Plz advice whether I can go for this?Anything harm.Totally dilemma.!! Thanks!
saas - 13-Jul-15 @ 2:26 PM
I have arthritus in my hip surgery has been recommended, I am a healthy 72 year young but do not feel happy about being out of action for any length of time,I wonderd if stem cell therapy would be an option, and where in London within the M25 I could go for best advice
Bella - 15-Jun-15 @ 12:28 AM
@praju - while there has been big leaps in researchers developing new techniques that uses pluripotent stem cells to initiate hair growth in people who are going bald, it is still very early days. Plus, while there may also be independent clinicians advertising hair restoration in this way, there is no real evidence to say how successful this treatment can be or whether it is safe of not, as not enough research has been carried out.
ExploreStemCells - 18-Mar-15 @ 10:13 AM
hi i am suffering from hair loss and my dr... is suggesting me for an stem cell therapy injection so please guide me is it safe and is there any side effect so please help me...
praju - 15-Mar-15 @ 7:30 AM
Hello Mr. Murnaghan, I am currently writing my high school graduation thesis. It is on the topic of stem cells and why we should fund research. If you have any time at all I would love to ask you a couple questions so that I may further my research on the topic. Any help would be highly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
mo - 9-Mar-15 @ 2:28 AM
Sir Iam suffering from hair loss problem. Is there anyside effects by biocell theraphy.pls give me suggestions
sanju - 13-Jan-15 @ 1:47 PM
@nillu - We have a page Stem Cells and Hair Loss which you may be interested in link here . Unfortunately, while progress is being made it is still slow and there are no proven treatments out there yet in this field.
ExploreStemCells - 15-Dec-14 @ 11:48 AM
Sir / mam My hair falls alot but I m not getting bald, I am thinking to do stem cell is stem cells are safe treatment? Or it has really side effects like tumor etc disease?
nillu - 13-Dec-14 @ 1:50 PM
Hi Gino, Can you please let me know how is you daughter? My son also diagnosed with type 1 in 2011. If you already completed the therapy please let me know if this was satisfactory? I believed your daughter would feel better after this. Thanks, Iqbal
Iqbal - 24-Nov-14 @ 7:11 PM
SirI am a diabeticfrom last 15year'sI wanttogofora stemscelltherapypleaseguide me about its sideeffects regards Bhushan
Annu - 9-Nov-14 @ 10:33 PM
iam 62having erection problem so i received stemcell 2 capsul along with vitamins E--coq10----red ginssing---fish oil--argining please let me know if will be cured best wishes
ebiiam - 20-Aug-14 @ 3:30 PM
iam 62 and having erection problem so i received stemcell 2 along with some supplements such as vitamins E- fishoil -co q10 -red ginsing- argining please help me and advise if i will be cured and have not side effect best regds
ebiiam - 20-Aug-14 @ 3:21 PM
Hi my sister is suffering from muscular dystrophy .she is takingsteam cell therapy in Mumbai .is there any side effects on it....
Pinty - 30-Jul-14 @ 6:49 AM
I jst want to knw it steam cell therapy is safe or not is there any side effecti m suffring from baldness and i went a hair clinic they suggest me to do this therapy Which is better opetion throw the machine or injection in steam cell
sam - 24-Jul-14 @ 9:41 PM
i have diagnose a lupus last march 2014, I would like to ask if stem cell is safe to a lupus patient ?
dal - 28-May-14 @ 10:58 PM
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