Stem cells have incredible potential to develop into various types of cell in body during early life and growth. Additionally, they serve as a kind of internal repair system. They have the ability to essentially divide without limit in order to replenish other cells in the body of a living person or animal. Stem cells upon division can remain as a stem cell or develop into another cell type with a more specialized function like a red blood cell, a muscle cell, or a brain cell.
There are two major characteristics that differentiate stem cells from other type of cells. The first characteristic is that they have the ability to renew themselves through cell division. The second characteristic is that they can be induced to change into a tissue or organ-specific cells with special functions under certain experimental or physiologic conditions.
Stem Cell Therapy
Stem cell therapy, also known as regenerative medicine, involves the use of stem cells in treatment and prevention of certain diseases and health conditions.
One of the most widely used stem-cell therapy is the bone marrow transplant. However, there are some other types of stem cell therapy which were derived from umbilical cord blood. Currently, research is going on in order to develop many sources for stem cells and use them (i.e. stem cell technology) in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, heart diseases, diabetes and other health conditions.
Stem Cell therapy uses stem cell to promote the reparative response of dysfunctional, disease or injured tissue. This is an advanced chapter of organ transplantation which uses cells instead of donor organs which is not much in supply.
Stem cells are grown in a lab by researchers. They are manipulated to perform specialized cells and can be implanted into a person. For instance, a patients suffering from heart disease can have a manipulated stem cell injected into the heart muscle; thus, leading to repairing of the defective heart muscle by the healthy transplanted heart cells.
Stem Cell Research
Almost everyone who belongs inside and outside medical and scientific community believes that stem cell research is one of the most exciting and promising frontiers for providing treatment for people with a myriad of disease and health conditions. In fact, many people believed that stem cell research and treatment represents what could be seen as the mankind’s greatest opportunity to fulfill the ancient call to “provide healing to the sick”, relieve suffering and improve the overall quality of life for millions of people.
Stem cell has a lot of potential to help human understand and treat various diseases, injuries and lot of health-related conditions. This potential can clearly be seen in the use of blood stem cells in treatment of blood diseases which has save lives of thousands of children suffering from leukemia. It is also evident in the use of stem cells in the treatment of bone injury and injury of the skin and eye surface.
Researchers continue to explore new ways of using stem cells in medicine. However, there are still a lot to learn about stem cells. Nonetheless, it clearly shows that it holds so much potential.
Stem Cell Transplant
Stem cell transplant also known as bone marrow transplant is a procedure which is used to infuse healthy cells known as stem cells into the body of a patient to replace a damaged or diseased bone marrow. This kind of treatment can also be used to treat certain kinds of cancer such as leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma.
Stem cell transplant may be necessary if your bone marrow stops working or it is no longer producing adequate healthy stem cells.
Stem Cell transplant is also use to restore blood-forming stem cells in patients whose own have been damaged or destroyed by the high doses of radiation therapy or chemotherapy that are used in treatment of certain type of cancer.
Types of Stem Cell Transplants
There are 3 types of stem cells transplant which derived their name according to the donor
Autologous: this type of stem cell transplants comes from the patient
Allogeneic: it comes from another person
Syngeneic: it comes from the patient’s twin.
Stem Cell Transplant and Cancer
Stem cell transplant do not usually work directly against the cancer. However, they can be used to help a patient recover his ability to produce stem cells after treatment with extreme doses of radiation therapy or chemotherapy.
Stem Cell Transplants are used to treat patients with lymphoma and leukemia. They may be used in treatment of patients suffering from neuroblastoma and multiple myeloma.
At the moment, system cell transplant is very expensive and only a couple of people can afford to pay for this procedure.