Most stem cell companies that are operating out the the USA and Canada are doing so to operate in countries with less regulations and oversight. This means that the therapies that they are providing do not have the appropriate trial results to gain approval by the governing bodies in USA and Canada. Some groups are diligent and provide the best care they can, but many are not providing a level of care that provides benefit to the patients, the approaches of others can even create additional risks for the patients.
Most of the groups use one of two approaches.
- Allogenic stem cell injections. In this type of stem cell therapy, stem cells from a donor are injected into a person's body. In these cases, it is likely that the cells are not accepted by the patient and instead are removed by the patient’s immune system, meaning that the patient did not receive any benefit and instead exposed themselves to foreign cells. In addition, the source of these cells can come from contentious sources like newborn or embryonic tissue or sometimes simply unknown.
- Autologous Bone Marrow or Adipose injections. This type of therapy involved extracting, processing and reintroducing the cells into the body. This is similar to the approach to the Acorn's banked hair follicle cells would be used. Autologous cell injections may help to stimulate the growth of new cells and tissue, which can aid in the repair of damaged tissue and they may also stimulate the production of growth factors and other substances that can promote healing and repair.
Because stem cells have the ability to become different cell types in the body, careless applications of stem cell therapies do pose the risk of the wrong cells developing in the wrong part of the body called Teratomas. Teratomas are rare tumors that can form when stem cells differentiate into multiple types of tissue, such as hair, teeth, and muscle. Stem cells that are transplanted into a site where they are not normally found, such as the brain or spinal cord, may have a higher risk of developing into a teratoma. Additionally, stem cells that are not carefully screened or processed before transplantation may also have a higher risk of developing into a teratoma. In general, the risk of developing a teratoma can be minimized by using stem cells that have been carefully screened and processed, and by transplanting them into the appropriate site in the body. This is why health regulations and approvals are important for the safety of stem cell therapies.