Stem Cell Therapy - A Promising Treatment Option of the Next Century
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Stem Cell Therapy - A Promising Treatment Option of the Next Century

Stem cell therapy is a term getting popular in the midst of controversies. In United States, doctors have begun the first official trial of human embryonic stem cells in patients. What exactly is stem cell therapy and does it really have the potential to revolutionize modern medical treatment?

In United States, doctors have begun the first official trial of human embryonic stem cells in patients. What exactly is stem cell therapy and does it really have the potential to revolutionize modern medical treatment?

Stem cells have the potential to develop into different types of cell in different parts of the human body. Stem cells are in the early stage of development with the ability to develop into different cell types.

As stem cell replicates, it can remain as a stem cell or develop into other cells with more specialized function. In tissues, they can play a role of internal repair system.

               

Stem cells are produced in the human bone marrow. They divide regularly to replace damaged tissues. However, these stem cells divide rarely in other body organs a heart. Back in 1998, it was found that stem cells can be obtained from human embryos and they were named human embryonic stem cells.

Many scientists today believe that cells can be used to replace damaged tissues in the body. Tissues that are damaged by trauma and diseases are likely to be repaired using stem cells.

It is believed that stem cell therapy could be used to treat variety of conditions as heart disease, stroke, Type 1 diabetes, burns, spinal cord damage, Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease. It is anticipated that stem cell research could open doors for testing experimental drugs, provide vital clues to how organs develop and how diseases occur.

 

Embryonic stem cells under coloured scanning electron micrograph

The stem cells have potential to develop into any type of cell within the body is called pluripotent stem cells. The differentiated cells developed from human pluripotent cell lines can be used to test new experimental drugs. Example: Anti-tumor drugs can be tested on cancer cell lines.

Stem cells are also found in adult organs. These stem cells maintain the organ to function in the top-notch condition by repairing any damage. However, adult stem cells do not have the potential to differentiate into other types of cell compared to embryonic stem cells.

Today embryonic stem cells are taken from embryos developed in the laboratory. Since these embryos can develop into human babies, many campaigners oppose the idea of using embryos for stem cell research. Many consider the idea of testing on human embryos to be ethically wrong.

Safety concerns behind stem cell treatments:- Stem cell contamination: Stem cells are likely to be contaminated in the lab with microscopic microbes and such undetected bacteria and virus could possibly transmit disease causing agents to stem cell recipients.

- Might cause cancer: Older stem cells lines along with genetic abnormalities could lead to uncontrolled cell proliferation and it is feared that it could result in cancerous tumor development.

- Stem cell transplant takes time: Extremely ill patients require stem cell transplant, but testing the functioning and efficacy of stem cells about to be transplanted takes time. As time is precious for humans battling with illness, the whole idea of transplant is less likely to be practical.

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Comments (3)

Wonder how politics will play into this topic!

The human body is always changing every minute and according to scientists, the cells of our body changes completely after 6 years.There is also evidences in the scripture, Bhagavad-gita, As it is and the Bhagavatam.

I know someone who had stem cell regeneration in the knee and it was extremely successful and without pain. Great info here!

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