Journal of Regenerative Medicine ISSN: 2325-9620

Stem Cells and Management of Healthcare Costs: Stem Cell-Based Treatments and the Societal Balance Sheet

Stem Cells and Management of Healthcare Costs: Stem Cell-Based Treatments and the Societal Balance Sheet

Proposed stem cell based therapies have the potential to be highly costly. In an era of shrinking research budgets and ballooning healthcare costs, this article discusses the feasibility of stem cell based therapies for the following conditions in light of the concept of Quality Adjusted Life Years (QALYs): 1) hematologic malignancy, 2) osteoarthritis, 3) type I diabetes, 4) amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and 5) spinal cord injury. These case studies illustrate the following major contributors to the potential cost effectiveness of a stem cell based therapy: 1) presence of existing treatments, 2) method of transplantation, 3) potential for improvements in quality and quantity of life, 4) need for immunosuppression, and 5) single administration versus repeat treatments. We propose that strategic investment in large sum translational grants should be for projects that have the potential for both efficacy AND feasibility – that is the potential for inclusion into standard medical practice and coverage by insurance carriers.

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