Modern medical science has become so advanced, it almost seems like science fiction. With complex prosthetics, new cancer treatments, and more access to medical care, scientists are doing things that they thought were impossible a few years ago.
Stem cell research is an area of medical research that has gained lots of attention over the years for its potential. Scientists have said that stem cells could treat paralysis and Alzheimer’s, which are almost impossible to treat.
But questions still remain: what are stem cells? Where do stem cells come from? And what can stem cell research do for humanity? In this article, we’ll answer your questions about stem cell research and stem cell therapy.
What Are Stem Cells?
Stem cells are a special type of cell that can develop into many different kinds of cells, from brain cells to nerve cells to muscle cells.
Stem cells are the cells that all other cells come from and are essential to replacing dead or damaged cells. Doctors are studying them because they think that stem cells can repair or replace the cells of sick or injured patients. There are two different types of stem cells: adult stem cells and embryonic stem cells.
Where Do Stem Cells Come From?
Adult stem cells are in the developed tissue of humans like bone marrow or muscles and can only develop into a small range of cell types. For example, a muscle stem cell can only develop into more muscle cells; it won’t change into liver cells or nerve cells.
Embryonic stem cells are from embryos that got fertilized but have not developed. These embryos come from “in vitro” fertilization and the patients give them to the scientists. These stem cells are “pluripotent”. This means that can turn into any type of cell in the body, like bone marrow cells, nerve cells, brain cells or muscle cells.
There has been some controversy over using embryonic stem cells in stem cell research. Stem cells are from a fertilized embryo which could develop into a person, leading to debates about human rights.
This has worried some people who have pushed to make embryonic stem cells illegal to use in research. These fertilized embryos were never put into a woman’s womb, and don’t qualify as living people under the law.
There are also adult stem cells that got manipulated by scientists into becoming pluripotent. These stem cells are close to embryonic stem cells, but they can’t turn into any type of cell like an embryonic stem cell can.
Doctors have also discovered stem cells in the amniotic fluid of humans during birth, called perinatal stem cells. Scientists aren’t sure what they do yet, but they are studying them to find out their uses.
What is Stem Cell Research?
Stem cell research is the process of studying stem cells, their development in the human body, and how they can treat injuries and illnesses.
One of the most important areas of stem cell research is the development of stem cells into differentiated, or developed, cells. Scientists watch the stem cells develop into different types of cells and study how the development happened.
This is important because many diseases and disorders like cancer and birth defects come from stem cells that didn’t form in the right way. If scientists can figure out why stem cells don’t develop the right way in cases of cancer or birth defects, they can reduce or cure these diseases.
Scientists also use stem cell research to study the effects of new drugs on the body. For example, when scientists test a new drug, they need to find out how it affects the body. With stem cell research, scientists can create different types of human cells and test the drug on those cells without harming anyone. This means that we can develop and test drugs at a faster rate without putting people’s health or animals in danger.
Stem cell research is also looking at how to repair and regenerate dead or damaged cells in the body. Scientists believe that stem cells can jump-start the healing process and can even help people regenerate dead cells.
For example, if a patient has a damaged heart, doctors could use heart stem cells to grow heart cells and replace the damaged cells. Doctors hope that this stem cell research could treat diseases like Alzheimer’s by slowing down or even curing the disease. There is also some evidence that stem cell research could treat paralysis and reverse the condition.
What is Stem Cell Therapy?
Stem cell therapy is using stem cell research to regenerate or heal damaged organs or tissues. The most common type of stem cell therapy is a bone marrow transplant. Bone marrow transplants are for cancer patients whose bone marrow stem cells get destroyed by their cancer treatment.
This is where doctors take the hematopoietic stem cells from a healthy patient’s bones and transfer it to the sick patient’s bones. The goal of the procedure is to increase the sick patient’s blood production.
Scientists are also using stem cells to increase hair growth in patients, which is an exciting new treatment. If you have any questions about hair follicle growth and stem cell therapy, visit this blog.
Scientists are also using stem cell therapy to grow skin for burn victims. The skin grown in labs for burn victims doesn’t have pores or hair and doesn’t produce oil, so only a few special clinics can use this treatment. Doctors are hopeful that they can use stem cell therapy to grow new organs for organ transplant patients. And with the long list of patients waiting for new organs, this can’t come soon enough.
The Future is Here
Now that we’ve answered the question, “where do stem cells come from?”, you can decide if stem cell treatment is right for you. There are new stem cell treatments every day, so make sure you do your research and see what stem cell therapy is all about.
If you have any questions about stem cell therapy or other health questions, please visit our blog.