Why Are Stem Cells So Special and So Important?

Isn’t the idea of a miracle cure, amazing? If there is something that we can utilize to repair whatever it is that is damaged inside our bodies, then that would be really great.

There are so many different medical conditions out there that may require specialized treatments. However, there are also those that, to this day, still cannot be cured. At most, you can just mitigate its effects, but you’re going to have to live with the damages.

Well, scientists are looking for ways to utilize stem cells in a different way. Stem cell therapy is an area where you can use these amazing cells to do whatever it is that is needed by your body.

Right now, bone marrow transplants make use of stem cells from that part of the body to help replenish lost blood cells due to chemotherapy.

Stem cells are ‘undifferentiated’ which means that, by default, they do not have a definite purpose. The only time they will have a specific purpose would be if they turn into ‘differentiated’ or ‘specialized’ cells.

For instance, if stem cells would turn into skin cells, then the resulting ones already have a definite purpose. These cells can, theoretically, change into whatever cell in the body. It can turn into muscle cells, brain cells, blood cells, and literally just any cell.

Stem Cell Treatments

Researchers believe that stem cells can be utilized in a way to initiate the repair and recovery process in our bodies. For instance, there was a study that was done on 11 patients who had scarred hearts due to heart attacks.

The researchers injected some stem cells into the damaged part of their hearts and after some time, the sufferers’ conditions improved.

However, do keep in mind that the study participants have had bypass surgery prior to the study, which means that their improved condition might have been caused with the said procedure rather than the stem cells themselves.

In another study, lab mice that were induced with type-1 diabetes were given some stem cells derived from human skin cells.

It turned out that those cells were able to turn into insulin-secreting cells which helped the mice survive, given enough time.

According to the study’s author, Jeffrey R. Millman, patients with type-1 diabetes can save themselves if they are transplanted with pancreatic beta cells derived from stem cells.
 


Are Current Stem Cell Therapies Effective?

Well, the only approved and, therefore, effective stem cell treatment is a bone marrow transplant. This is done to cancer patients who have undergone chemotherapy and sometimes radiation therapy. Both of these procedures will weaken the immune system, which makes their bodies primed to take in bone marrow stem cells through transplantation.

Other than that, all of the stem cell treatments that are offered by clinics are deemed to be experimental. Should you undergo the procedure, you should accept that there is a possibility that these treatments won’t work.

On top of that, the safety of the said procedure is also questionable, so if you are going to take some stem cell treatments, do so at your own risk.

Author: Denise Long