GENERICO.ruScienceActor John Cleese called stem cells “the secret of eternal youth”: what’s wrong

Actor John Cleese called stem cells “the secret of eternal youth”: what’s wrong

“There is not a single clinical study that shows these treatments are safe or effective.”

Stem cells have become a favored miracle treatment among the rich and famous: Kim Kardashian reportedly is a fan of stem cell facials, and Cristiano Ronaldo resorted to stem cell injections after a hamstring injury.

The latest to extol their benefits was the actor “Monty Python” John Cleese, who suggested that stem cells may contain the secret of eternal youth — or at least give him “a few extra years.”

In an interview with Saga magazine, the 84-year-old said that over the past two decades he has paid a private Swiss clinic £17,000 every 12-18 months for stem cell therapy, which he says makes him look “pretty good”. for his age.

But, as The Guardian writes, while stem cell treatments have remarkable medical potential, experts say private clinics making such far-reaching claims are operating in a “gray area”. regulation

“So, is Cleese making a smart investment?”, – asks The Guardian. Stem cells have remarkable medical potential. These are the main cells of the body, which in the embryo subsequently form all types of cells of the body. Even in adulthood, our body retains reserves of less versatile stem cells, which are mobilized to repair damage and continually regenerate skin and other tissues.

Stem cell transplants have long been used to treat leukemia, and there is much pioneering research using stem cells to treat genetic skin diseases, Parkinson's disease and epilepsy.

However, there are also private clinics making far-reaching claims that fall into the “gray zone” regulation, since the treatment uses the patients’ own cells, and not drugs that need to be licensed, notes The Guardian.

“There is no clinical research to show that these treatments are safe or effective,” says Professor Darius Widera, a stem cell biologist at the University of Reading. – All these clinics are using a loophole in the law.

It's unclear what type of therapy Cleese received, although he described something like a biological procedure, saying: “These cells travel throughout the body, and when they find a place that needs repair, they turn into the cells you want to fix.” so that they can become cells of cartilage or other tissues.” liver cells.”

As a rule, clinics extract stem cells from adipose tissue, multiply them in the laboratory and reintroduce them into the body. Weidera is categorical in his judgment about the likelihood that stem cells will achieve the desired effect: “No, they won’t.”

Adult stem cells are already specialized to some extent and therefore, for example, have difficulty turning into liver cells. And as we age, the body becomes less efficient at recruiting stem cells, whether they are injected or not, writes The Guardian.

“If you transplant a stem cell into an old environment, it won't work as well , – says Professor Ilaria Bellantuono, co-director of the Institute for Healthy Living at the University of Sheffield. – They will be affected by their old environment”.

There are also concerns about the safety of such treatments. Several patients lost their vision after stem cell treatment for degenerative eye diseases at an unregulated clinic in Florida. Other complications associated with unregulated treatment include life-threatening infections, tumors, heart attacks and even death.

Professor Paul Knoepfler, a stem cell expert at the University of California, Davis, said: 'I like John Cleese, but I worry that his attempts to fight aging with stem cells may do more harm than good. First, the stem cells he regularly receives could pose a risk to his health. It is unclear whether any particular type of stem cell is safe or effective unless it has undergone rigorous clinical trials. Additionally, its anti-aging claims are unproven. Second, over-the-top claims by celebrities about what stem cells could do for them could encourage ordinary people to follow suit, at both health and financial risk.

John Cleese says he has been receiving stem cell therapy for 20 years, which would have made him one of the first to use it, but is now leaving him behind. Over the past few years, the field of longevity research has moved away from stem cells as Silicon Valley scientists and billionaires have focused on the potential of various molecules to “rewind time.” in the cells of the whole body. There is strong evidence that such life-extending treatments are effective, at least in animals: last year, one team reported the oldest living laboratory rat.

“Beyond small molecules in “This field really is the future,” says Professor Evelyn Bischof, who conducts longevity research at Jiaotong Medical School in Shanghai.

It remains to be seen whether longevity drugs have the same impressive anti-aging effects in humans and rodents . But unlike stem cell infusions, which require special drugs prescribed by medical professionals, such anti-aging pills could become widespread and not remain the preserve of Hollywood stars.

“These will be small-molecule drugs that will make a real difference changes, – emphasizes Bischof. – Not only for patients, but also for accessibility”.

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