Everything You Need to Know About Stem Cell Therapy
Stem cells are regenerative cells and researchers are constantly finding new ways to use stem cell therapy for treatments of various diseases. Stem cells are undifferentiated cells present in our body that are not specialized towards one single task. But they are able to develop into specialized cells whenever needed for that one specific function. After being differentiated into specialized cells they continue to divide themselves and reproduce.
Stem cells are of two types: embryonic cells and adult cells. Embryonic cells are found in the blastocyst; they can grow rapidly and differentiate into many cell types. Adult cells are present in the tissues of the body. Their primary role is to maintain and repair the tissues they reside in. They are also known as somatic cells since they are found in all body tissues.
Stem cells are used in procedures such as bone marrow transplants and chemotherapy treatments. Healthy bone marrow of the donor provides functioning stem cells that aid in repairing the area of the body damaged by chemotherapy treatment. Stem cell therapy helps in reducing the effects of chemotherapy by bolstering the immune system and helping fight the cancerous cells. They also support the body’s regeneration.
Stem cell therapy is considered as a natural solution because the cells are naturally occurring in the body and the most easily derivable cells are adult stem cells. These can be derived using subsequent methods:
- Bone marrow – Derived by harvesting, where stem cells are removed using a needle puncture directly into the bone
- Blood – Derived by apheresis, blood is taken from a donor and stem cells are extracted
- Umbilical cords – Cells are derived from the blood of the umbilical cord after childbirth
- Adipose tissue – Derived by using mini-lipoaspirate procedure
Diseases Cured by stem cell therapy
Although stem cell therapy is not a cure for any disease in itself, it greatly effects and gives hope for cure of many serious diseases like Diabetes, Osteoarthritis, Arthritis, COPD, multiple sclerosis (MS), HIV/AIDS and many more. Currently, the following treatment options are utilizing stem cell therapies:
- Cancer – Stem cell therapy is used to permeate healthy stem cells into the patient’s body to help suppress the disease. It also simultaneously stimulates new marrow development, while reducing relapse rates.
- Anemia and other blood conditions– Stem cells help in treating blood disorders by providing the body the means to regenerate healthy blood cells. This is very crucial in treating various diseases like Sickle Cell Anaemia, Fanconi anaemia, and Thalassemia.
- Wounds and Injuries– Stem cells have the ability to treat acute as well as chronic wounds. These cells are capable of treating injuries in old age patients that cannot heal quickly and naturally. Stem cell therapy also helps in healing limb gangrene, surface wound, and also jawbones replacement. Stem cells increase blood vessels and improve the blood supply.
A few other diseases that can be treated with the help of stem cell therapy are various auto-immune diseases, neurodegeneration, brain and spinal cord injuries, heart conditions, tooth and hair replacement, vision loss, pancreatic cells, orthopedics and HIV/AIDS.
Research is still going on for a multitude of possible uses of stem cell and stem cell therapy. There is a hope that in the near future stem cell therapy could become the standard care and natural way of cure and treatment.