Right guys, it’s time to get serious and learn about stem cell treatments. Stem cells are becoming more and more prominent in modern medicine and will probably impact all our lives at some point in the future. So, stay in the know:
Stem cells have huge potential when it comes to helping us understand and treat a number of diseases, injuries and other health related issues and conditions. The promising potential of stem cells is evident in the use of blood stem cells to treat blood-related diseases, a therapy which has already saved the lives of thousands of children suffering from leukemia. It can also be seen in the use of stem calls for tissue grafts to treat injury to or disease of the bone, skin, and even the surface of the eye. As researchers continue to explore new methods of using stem cells in medicine, important clinical trials are currently underway.
A Long Way To Go With Stem Cell Treatments
Currently, research into using stem cells for the treatment of disease and injury is relatively new, and there are very few methods of using stem cell treatment which are proven to be both effective and safe. The best-defined and most extensively used type of stem cell treatment is known as hematopoietic (blood) stem cell transplantation. A well-known example of this would be bone marrow transplantation, a treatment which is often used to treat certain blood and immune system disorders or to rebuild the blood system after treatment for certain types of cancer.
Different Stem Cells for Different Purposes
Different types of stem cells serve different purposes in your body. Scientists are currently exploring the different roles of tissue-specific stem cells, for example dendritic cells, in healing, with the understanding that specific types of stem cells have various and specific limited abilities. For example, blood-forming stem cells found in the bone marrow serve to regenerate the blood, whilst neural stem cells in the brain are responsible for making brain cells. Because of this, it is highly unlikely that a single stem cell type can be used to treat a multitude of unrelated diseases involving various organs or tissue.
Cells From Your Own Body Are Not Always Safe
In theory, your own immune system should not attack stem cells from your own body, should they be used in a transplant. Known as an autologous transplant, a transplant of cells from one area of your body to another can sometimes work to treat disease, however certain problems can arise. The processes by which the cells were acquired, grown, and then introduced into the body can carry a number of health risks, for example the risk of being contaminated by bacteria or viruses which could cause infections or disease when introduced. Along with that, manipulation of cells by a clinic could possibly interfere with normal cell function, reducing their effectivity when reintroduced into the body. How and where the cells are put back into your body is also hugely important. Because of this, stem cell donors are always in demand – see Hemacare for more information on becoming a stem cell donor.
Stem cell treatments may still need significant research and study, however, so far, a range of treatments have been hugely effective in treating a range of diseases and conditions.