The advancements in stem cell therapy this year has been astounding. Scientists are working on research to treat many diseases in the human body. They are currently working on engineering stem cells to prevent or cure diseases, and help repair or replace tissue damage from injuries or disease.
There are 2 types of stem cells, pluripotent and multipotent cells. Pluripotent cells can help create any type of cell in the body. Multipotent cells are “restricted”, to only a few different types of cells. The ability to renew themselves is what separates them from all other cells.
Stem cells are being used to help treat certain diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Diabetes. The cells can replace neurons that are damaged by disease and help build muscle or produce insulin. Scientists are working to find ways that stem cells can help prevent or cure diseases in all parts of the body. Stem cells have the ability to treat damaged cells or tissue, but sometimes rejection of the therapy occurs.
Work is being done to find ways that stem cells can “bypass”, the immune system response and prevent rejection. The immune system is a major problem for effective treatments, so scientist is trying to find answers so that the new cells can be “shielded”, from the immune system, which tries to oust the intruding cells. Research has begun using the person’s own stem cells by introducing “pluripotent stem cells”, which are hoped to minimize the chances of rejection.
Stem cells for patients with Parkinson’s disease have been shown that this type of therapy can reduce the need for “dopamine”, based medications. Some medications for Parkinson’s can result in side effects with movement in the patients. Scientists are engineering cells to help treat these symptoms of movement problems and memory loss in patients with Parkinson’s disease but other related movement diseases.
A new stem cell called “perivascular stem cells”, is being investigated to help people with injuries generate new bone tissue. These cells can help with spinal fusion and eliminate back pain. Stability in the spine is also obtained for those patients with scoliosis.
The increase in heart disease is prompting scientists to study growing healthy tissue to transplant in individuals with heart disease. This transplant can help the heart “renew itself.” This same kind of study is being conducted on patients with diabetes. Stem cells can be transplanted into the pancreas to replace damaged cells and reduce the need for insulin. This would eliminate the need for the painful daily shots that diabetics are required to take.
Inflammatory diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis (MS), is being researched for the use of stem cells in reducing inflammatory attacks by the immune system. MS affects the central nervous system and causes disability in vision, mobility, and sensations. Research with stem cells is being conducted to target molecules that render “progenitors”, inactive.
Stem cell research is being conducted to help people heal and cure themselves. Scientists are discovering new uses for this therapy every day. By knowing how the cells work can help provide knowledge in possible treatments for a variety of diseases or conditions.
It is hoped that stem cell therapy will help our bodies cure itself without surgery and just heal naturally. Many breakthroughs are and will be discovered in the future using stem cells. If a body can use its own stem cells to heal itself, this would be so exciting for the world. Healing heart cells and healing the body is at the forefront of medical science. Who wouldn’t want to heal their bodies without surgery or medications? Science is certainly on the right track.