This is an essential piece on how we can invest in a healthy future using the stem cells.
Modern medicine has transformed the way we approach health and treat diseases. The most recent discoveries suggest that it may have even found a way to protect our health in the future by making one-time investments in our health today.
These investments involve the collection of stem cells, the building blocks of life, and their preservation for potential future use.
Overview on to invest in a healthy future using the stem cell
Stem cells work in two ways –they’re able to make identical copies of themselves (self-renewal) while also being able to change into a range of other cell types (differentiation).
They’re also able to stop immune responses. What this essentially means is that stem cells can be very helpful in therapies that involve organ damage repair or treatment of an overactive immune system.
Thanks to their ability to regenerate and repair the body from within, they are seen as a fountain of youth.
The best part about it is that each one of us has access to it. In this article, we will be looking at ways we can invest in a healthy future using these cells.
Potential uses of stem cells in the future
These cells are truly unique and no other cell in our body has the power and ability to create new types of cells.
The new cells they create (the daughter cells) are able to adopt a certain function to help repair certain organs. What this means is that they can become specialized cells such as bone, brain, or blood cells.
Stem cells come from various sources. First, some come from embryos (also called pluripotent stem cells) and they can be of immense value when it comes to repairing and regenerating damaged organs and tissue.
Also there are some which are derived from adult tissue such as fat or bone marrow. They’re able to create bone or heart muscle cells, but their abilities are more limited.
That said, adult stem cells can be altered through genetic programming to adopt the properties of pluripotent cells.
Finally, there are perinatal stem cells that are derived from the umbilical cord blood and amniotic fluid. Both cord blood stem cell and placenta stem cell act as valuable sources of cells that can be used to safeguard the health of the newborn baby, the mother, as well as the rest of the family.
There are a plethora of ways these cells can be used in treatments as well as in research. For starters, these studies can help doctors and researchers understand the way diseases and conditions occur and develop. This can be done by observing maturation of stem cells into tissue and other organs.
Another potential use of stem cells in the future involves testing the safety, quality, and effectiveness of new, investigational drugs. There are studies that are currently exploring the generation of specific cells to test a new drug for a certain disease (e.g. using nerve cells to test a nerve disease drug).
Last but not least, they can be used to generate specific cells to replace cells that are diseased and can be grown into new tissue which can then be used for transplantation. This is great news for both regenerative and transplant medicine.
How many diseases can be cured by stem cells
There is a wide variety of illnesses that can be treated using stem cells derived from all the aforementioned sources.
Stem cells are effective in treating genetic and haematopoietic disorders, and more than 80 diseases can be treated by the umbilical cord blood stem cells alone.
Haematopoietic stem cells (HSC), whether derived from cord blood or other sources that contain similar types of stem cells (such as peripheral blood and bone marrow), can be used to treat myeloproliferative disorders, stem cell disorders, as well as leukaemia. Other illnesses that have been treated with HSC include metabolic and immune disorders, solid tumors, and non-malignant blood disorders.
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) are used in cell therapy to promote regeneration (e.g. bone fractures that are unable to heal on their own).
They can also be used to treat autoimmune diseases as well as to stop immune responses against transplanted organs (transplant rejection). Currently, MSCs are being tested in clinical trials for stroke, graft-versus-host disease, limb ischemia, and myocardial infarction.
The vast potential of these cells and new possibilities continue to be uncovered, and this is what holds the most excitement for researchers.
In addition to a wide range of diseases and conditions that are currently being treated by stem cells, new possibilities for stem cell treatments are emerging, and using stem cells proves to be a wise one-time investment in a healthy future. Now, it is only a matter of time until the full potential of stem cells is unlocked.
The vast potential of stem cell continues to be uncovered, and it may be just the right investment we need to make to ensure a healthy future.