Stem cell therapy is basically an alternative medical therapy that helps to restore organ and tissue from damage beyond repair due to serious injury or disease. The stem cells alone have the power to create new bodily cells which provide renewals and restorations to the organs and tissues all in one unit. So far, stem cells have shown the largest positive impact in cardiovascular diseases and disorders, diabetes and autoimmune disorders such as Multiple Sclerosis. Major issues with organ transplants and the aging population being larger than ever before has put pressures on the medical field to search for alternative therapies such as that of stem cells.
How Stem Cell Treatments Work
The way that stem cells therapy helps to treat disease is that the embryonic cells are first matured into a cell type. Only after it is matured can it be used to do its thing to replace the damage in a tissue or organ. Aside from damaged muscles and tissues, it has been shown to be able to replaced damaged neurons in the brain ranging from spinal cord injury to Alzheimer’s disease. The cells have also been showing potential to aid in studying new drugs, including the ability to identify potentially harmful side effects. Unfortunately, however, the only stem cell treatment that are currently available widespread are used in bone marrow treatments for leukemia.
Some forms of leukemia in which stem cell treatment is effective include:
- Acute myelogenous leukemia. This is one in which the bone marrow rapidly creates a multitude of cancerous cells referred to as leukimic blasts. Normal blasts can create white cells to combat infection while the leukimic blasts are not capable of doing this.
- Aplastic Anemia. This is rare, fortunately, but for those who have it, the bone marrow simply produces much less of an overall blood cell count, platelets included, than the body needs.
- Sickle Cell Disease. The hemoglobin’s (or the agent responsible for carrying the oxygen to the red blood cells) function is defective and this causes the red blood cells to stiffen and form into shapes like the crescent moon.
Thus far, stem cell treatments have been showing great potential, however, most are still in the testing stages and as a result, not yet widely available. Studies done on animals have shown that if the stem cells are not allowed to mature, they will grow the disease or injury instead of the healthy parts of the organ or tissues. Mature stem cells, on the contrary, have shown almost unlimited healing and restoration potential. Some go as far as to say that they can cure, however, making such a guarantee is hazardous as there’s no definite guarantee of exactly how it will match each individual.