By: Dr. Andrew J. Rochman
Stem cells today, are being used to regenerate tissues and organs for transplants and enhanced healing procedures. Conditions like broken bones, heart diseases, and brain damage, etc, are now successfully being treated with good results.
How Does It Work?
Stem cells are biological cells in our body that can regenerate and adopt the shape and properties of other cells. Thus, no matter which part of the body is damaged, extracting stem cells from the patient’s body and culturing them in the right environment, allows scientists to recreate the organ or tissues necessary to initiate or enhance the healing process.
Regenerative stem cell procedures have also increased the ratio of successful organ transplants as organs are now being created from patients’ own stem cells to reduce the chances of a mismatched donor organ.
Diseases Treated by Stem Cell Regeneration
Although almost everything may be curable once research and experimentation on stem cell regeneration has been completed, currently diabetes, heart diseases, cancer, spinal injury, and blindness, along with the other conditions mentioned previously, can be treated with the help of stem cells. (Biology-online.org, 2014)
Therapies Currently Available for Stem Cell Regeneration
Although all of the conditions and diseases mentioned above have shown positive outcomes with the help of stem cells, research is still in its early stages. Many doctors and medical clinics claim that they have been practicing this treatment on patients and can provide cures for a variety of medical problems. However, stem cell research has not been released for public use just yet.
There are hopes, however, that within a few years, even our hearts could be regenerated by this innovative medical research and once this is made possible even people who are bedridden due to heart disease will be able to walk and live fulfilling lives once more.
When Will Tissue Regeneration Be Widely Used?
No certain date can be quoted as of yet regarding the release of these regenerative procedures for the masses. However, as experiments on animals and humans are being successfully conducted, we will soon be able to benefit from the regenerative powers of our own body and heal numerous injuries and diseases. (Research & Development, 2014)
Why Is Stem Cell Research A Prolonged Process?
There are a number of reasons why research on stem cells is prolonged and extremely thorough. The main reasons include:
1. YOU CAN NEVER BE TOO SAFE WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR HEALTH
When research is related to human health it is usually a matter of life and death. Scientists cannot afford to be careless in their approach as one wrong step may cause the death of a human being.
2. CREATING THE RIGHT KIND OF CELLS FROM STEM CELLS
As mentioned previously stem cells can be converted into a variety of other cells. However, understanding the process that allows the cells to change their form and create the right kind of cells that will treat a particular disease requires a lot of trial and error. It is a time consuming process that leads to the creation of a successfully cultured stem cell that can then be used for transplantations, treatments and regeneration.
3. ACCEPTANCE OF STEM CELLS BY IMMUNE SYSTEM
In order to treat diseases scientists need to ascertain that the generated stem cells will be accepted by the patient’s immune system and will allow the healing process to continue.
4. CREATION OF TUMORS
As seen in many of the animal trials, stem cells have been creating a number of cells in the body. These cells also lead to the creation of certain tumors and prior to publicizing this method of curing illnesses researchers need to eradicate the possibility of emerging tumors from stem cell implants.
5. PRODUCING STEM CELLS IN CONSISTENT AND SECURE ENVIRONMENTS
Culturing of stem cells requires a consistent and appropriate environment where these cells can regenerate over time to provide tissues and organs that can be implanted into the body. Currently, the provision of such facilities is limited in the medical field and thus, it is difficult to obtain desired results and perfectly regenerated stem cells for human trials.
Once these small obstacles and risk have been eliminated or considerably removed, stem cell research will be experimented extensively on humans and with favorable results; people all over the world will be able to benefit from better health and fitness. (Research & Development, 2014)
Biology-online.org, (2014). Kyle’s Stem Cell Research Paper – Biology-Online. [online] Available at: http://www.biology-online.org/biology-forum/about68.html?hilit=Organ+specificity#p230 [Accessed 14 May. 2014].
Research & Development, (2014). New micro-environment could be major advance for stem cell growth strategies. [online] Available at: http://www.rdmag.com/news/2014/04/new-micro-environment-could-be-major-advance-stem-cell-growth-strategies [Accessed 14 May. 2014].
Research & Development, (2014). Team implants human innate immune cells in mice. [online] Available at:http://www.rdmag.com/news/2014/03/team-implants-human-innate-immune-cells-mice [Accessed 14 May. 2014].