Four Ways That Stem Cells Are A Medical Revolution

If you've heard about stem cells in the news, then you may be wondering exactly what they are and how they can be meaningful to your health. Stem cells are a special type of cell that can divide both to replicate themselves and to transform into other types of cells. In this way, they can act as factories to produce the cells that your body uses for a huge variety of different purposes. Stem cell therapy is often referred to as regenerative therapy for exactly this reason.

Stem Cells Can Be Anything

When you were a child, did your parents tell you that you could grow up to be anything you want? For stem cells, it's actually true. When a stem cell divides, it can either become another stem cell or it can grow into a completely different type of cell. As stem cells divide, they can transform into blood cells, bone cells, and even brain cells.

They Can Be Harvested from Adults

Although much of the controversy surrounding stem cells has focused on embryonic stem cells, the stem cells being used in most modern testing are adult stem cells. These are donated from the bone marrow or blood of adults, and they can perform many of the same functions as embryonic stem cells. Often, a person's own stem cells are used as part of a stem cell treatment plan.

Adult Stem Cells Can Be Engineered to Act as Embryonic Stem Cells

Adult stem cells are not quite as versatile as embryonic stem cells, but research is currently underway to bio-engineer the stem cells of adults to function in the same way as embryonic stem cells. If this research pans out, the wider availability of these highly versatile cells will open up potential treatment options for a huge range of degenerative diseases. So far, early tests have been extremely promising and have shown that adult stem cells can be coerced into dividing into everything from lung to liver cells.

Stem Cell Treatment Can Treat Many Degenerative Diseases

Of course, simply having stem cells that can divide into a variety of different cell types isn't enough. The real promise of stem cells is that they can be used to treat a wide variety of degenerative diseases. Currently, stem cell treatment has been tested for several types of degenerative vision diseases, as well as heart and brain disorders. In the future, stem cells are expected to excel at treating a variety of liver diseases, as well as neurological disorders such as Parkinson's and ALS.

While stem cell therapy is still in its infancy, it is already improving lives and treating diseases that previously had few therapeutic options. The potential for stem cell therapy is limitless and they offer a bright future for people who are suffering from a variety of diseases that are currently not able to be treated.