What Is Stem Cell Therapy Image

What Is Stem Cell Therapy

Stem cells and the products that are derived from them offer a great new promise when it comes to medical treatments. Stem cells have been featured in the news and if you are one of the many thousands of people who have wondered if they might be able to help someone you know who is suffering with a serious illness or disease this is the website for you. Here you will find information on what stem cell therapy is and how it can be used to treat disease and injury.

What Are Stem Cells ?

Put simply, stem cells are cells from which all the cells in our bodies that have specialized functions are generated. They are literally a raw material that can be used to create more cells. Under the right conditions, stem cells divide to form cells that are called daughter cells. These daughter cells then either become new stem cells or specialized cells with a specific functions such as blood cells, bone and more. There is no other cell in the human body that has the natural ability to generate new cell types and that is what makes these so important.

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Why so much interest ?

Research and studies have been carried out for a number of years now to determine whether or not stem cells can help with numerous diseases and illnesses. By studying and watching stem cells mature into cells in bones, the muscles of the heart, nerves and other organs, researchers and doctors are better able to understand how diseases develop.

Stem cells can be guided and this means that scientists can control them and create specific cells that can then be used to regenerate and repair diseased and damaged tissues in humans. There are so many benefits to this regenerative medicine including those with spinal cord injuries, diabetes, Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, stroke, burns, cancer and so much more.

Through research it has been show that stem cells have the potential to be grown to become new tissue for use in transplant and regenerative medicine. Research is continuing to advance and more and more knowledge on stem cells and their potential is being made available.

Where Do Stem Cells Come From ?

Through research, a number of sources have been found for stem cells and these are :

Embryonic Stem Cells: These come from embryos that are three to five days old. At this early stage, an embryo is called a blastocyst and has about 150 cells. These are known as pluripotent stem cells which means that they can divide into more stem cells or become any type of cell the body requires. Because of this versatility, embryonic stem cells can be used to regenerate or repair diseased tissue and organs. Their use in humans has been limited to macular degeneration which is an eye related disorder.

Adult Stem Cells: These stem cells can be found in small numbers in most adult tissues such as fat or bone marrow. Adult stem cells are limited in their ability to become various cells of the body when compared with their embryonic counterpart. It was initially thought that adult stem cells could only create similar types of cells but emerging evidence suggests that these cells may be able to create unrelated types of cells. This research has since led clinical trails into people with neurological or heart disease.

Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells: These are adult cells that have been altered to have the properties of their embryonic counterparts. Scientists have been able to successfully transform regular adult cells into stem cells using genetic reprogramming. By altering the genes in these adult cells, researchers have been able to reprogram the cells so that they act in the same manor as embryonic stem cells. Researchers have been able to take regular connective tissue cells and reprogram them to become functional heart cells.

Perinatal Stem Cells: Through research it has been discovered that there are stem cells in the amniotic fluid and the umbilical cord which have the ability to change into specialized cells.

How Does Stem Cell Therapy Work ?

Stem cell therapy or regeneration is where cells are used to help promote the repairing and regeneration of diseased, dysfunctional or injured tissues. It is thought to be the next step forward in organ transplantation where we will use cells instead of donor organs.

The stem cells are grown in a laboratory and then manipulated to specialize into specific types of cells. These can be heart muscle cells, blood cells or nerve cells. The specialized cells can then be implanted. For example, if a person has heart disease, these cells can be injected into the heart muscle. The healthy transplanted cells then help to repair the defective heart muscle.

What Diseases Have Stem Cells Already Been Used For ?

Doctors have already carried out stem cell transplants also known as bone marrow transplants which have been very successful. In stem cell transplants, the stem cells replace cells that have been damaged by disease or chemotherapy. They can also be used to help the immune system to fight some types of cancer and blood related diseases such as leukemia.

Research shows that these methods can also be used to treat so many other diseases and conditions such as diabetes, Arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, cerebral palsy, facial palsy, autism, hair loss and much more. For more information on any of these treatments, please see their respective pages on our website.