Scientists are taking advantage of how the body regenerates itself and are working hard to learn about stem cell functions. Indeed, a wide range of diseases have the potential to be treated by stem cell treatments instead of traditional medicine.
Stem-cell-based treatment are nothing new. Bone marrow transplants to treat leukaemia were the first application: the operation uses existing hemopoietic stem cells. For this procedure, the existing bone marrow of a patient is destroyed by chemotherapy and/or radiation. After that, the patient is injected with a donor’s bone marrow which establishes in the patient’s bones. The donated bone marrow then separates into the required blood cells of the patient. To prevent a patient’s immune system from rejecting the new bone marrow, they must take drugs.
Today, damaged and dysfunctional tissues are substituted by donated ones. Unfortunately, the number of available organs is lower than the amount of people awaiting a transplant and many people die waiting for one. Cell and tissue formations for medical therapies would therefore be another potential application of stem cell, reducing the morbidity and mortality.
Stem cell treatments could possibly be used to cure spinal cord injuries, strokes, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease as well as other neurological problems. However, there are no limits to the types of diseases that could be treated. As researchers may be able to study all cell types through embryonic stem cells, there is potential to make discoveries for several diseases.
Blood and fat cells along with many of adult body tissues and organs are filled with their own supply of stem cells. Their job is to regenerate tissues and cells when the older ones die off or are damaged. Then, they can be harvested for growth and research outside of the body.
In time, research will confirm the success of stem cell therapies and how they will treat certain medical conditions. Continued research of stem cell usage will create hope for new treatments or even reversal of diseases. Unlike traditional chemical drugs, once a person is injected with a stem cell treatment, neither drugs nor surgery would be required.