Challenges in Stem Cell Transplantation

There are several challenges that face stem cell transplantation. Unfortunately, to date, stem cell utilization has only been approved for the treatment of some hematological malignancies, and some blood and genetic disorders but no other diseases. Several countries such as the United States, Canada, England, and Germany still restrict the use of stem cells for treatment of certain diseases due to the lack of sufficient clinical trials with long-term medical follow ups. One important reason for the lack of sufficient clinical trials is the lack of adequate funding and interest from the governments and pharmaceutical industries. The notion is that the lack of interest from pharmaceutical industries, which usually fund such projects, is due to the insufficient profit it generates. Another challenge is the cost of the stem cell transplantation procedure. Depending on the disease to be treated, the cost for SCT can be as high as a million dollars. Therefore, due to insufficient funding, many patients cannot get treated with stem cells. Lastly, there is a huge gap in the public’s knowledge about stem cells, their potentialities, uses and risks. Raising the public’s awareness about the safety of the procedures, and the potential benefits and outcomes can tremendously help in the treatment of several diseases and increase in the number of clinical trials.