By the end of the first half of this year, the total number of patients treated with stem cells in Cuba had reached 8,295, Dr. Porfirio Hernández, deputy director of Research at the Institute of Hematology and Immunology, told Granma.
First used in Cuba in February 2004, the advanced procedure is now offered in 14 of the 15 provinces of the country, with the specialties of orthopedics and traumatology, and angelology, seeing the most cases treated with 4,059 (49%) and 3,511 (42%), respectively.
Dr. Porfirio noted that currently the use of stem cells takes place through research projects including a limited number of pre-selected patients, and is not as yet offered as a treatment on a wider scale, due to the lack of sufficient evidence to substantiate the absolute safety and efficacy of this method of regenerative medicine.
So far there have been encouraging results in patients with bone cysts, complex bone fractures, pseudoarthrosis and osteoarthritis of the knee, among other orthopedic ailments.
Similarly stem cell therapy shows promising prospects for patients suffering from severe arterial insufficiency of the lower extremities, avoiding amputation in 73% of cases.
In addition, in cases of chronic arterial insufficiency, which prevents patients from walking more than 150 meters due to intense pain, about 85% of those treated with stem cells experienced significant improvement and could walk further distances without discomfort.
As noted by Dr. Porfirio Hernández, Cuba’s results in cell therapy are comparable to those reported by countries with a high level of development.