Stem cell research is a thriving field. The medical community is intensely interested in discovering the ways that stem cell therapy can benefit the human body. Most of the speculations about the treatments haven’t been verified. Almost every stem cell treatment is still in the experimental phase. There are multiple reasons for this.
As it stands, there are only a few stem cell treatments that are officially approved by the U.S. government. However, the number of current trials is much larger. Patients who are willing to try an experimental therapy can sign up for stem cell research trials today.
Medical professionals and patients are encouraged by the evidence. Stem cells could potentially be effective in treating a variety of different diseases. Countless patients could be cured of debilitating illnesses if certain stem cell trials progress successfully.
Anyone who is interested in stem cell therapy should try to remain current with the research. Science can change quickly when new discoveries are made.
Stem Cells and Same-Sex Parents
The latest stem cell research should provide a lot of comfort to same-sex parents and people struggling with fertility issues. Researchers were able to create two healthy baby mice using DNA from two mothers. The babies went on to have their own healthy offspring.
“We were interested in the question of why mammals can only undergo sexual reproduction. We have made several findings in the past by combining reproduction and regeneration, so we tried to find out whether more normal mice with two female parents, or even mice with two male parents, could be produced using haploid embryonic stem cells with gene deletions,” study co-author Qi Zhou explained.
Mammals procreate sexually. If science could devise a way to allow people to have reliably have children even if they can’t do so physically, it would transform human life. Current methods of treating infertility are expensive and often don’t work.
The study looked at haploid embryonic stem cells (ESCs), cells that contain DNA from a single parent. Researchers altered the haploid ESCs of a female mouse and injected them into the eggs of another female.
They produced over two dozen live, healthy mice out of 210 embryos.
Stem Cells and Your Intestines
Scientists determined that stem cells in fruit fly guts were sensitive to dietary changes. The fruit fly has three types of cells in its gut. The stem cells can be prodded to become one of the other two.
Dietary cholesterol had a particularly strong effect on the stem cells. Human beings are obviously very different than fruit flies. Yet it’s possible that our bodies function in a similar way. The medical community desperately wants to know how what we eat affects our health.
When the fruit flies were given a low-nutrient diet at birth, the negative effects lasted their entire lives. It’s said that human babies who grow up malnourished also experience side effects for the rest of their lives. Scientists recognize the importance of nutrition but they don’t have a lot of concrete answers yet.
Stem Cells and Heart Attacks
Scientists have created functional, beating heart muscles from stem cells. The implications of their study are huge. Heart attacks are a leading cause of death across the globe. An immeasurable amount of pain could be alleviated if heart muscles could reliably be prepared.
Even if the patient survives the heart attack, the event leaves its mark. Heart muscles suffer invariably suffer permanent damage. Past attempts to use stem cells to correct the damage have been unsuccessful.
“We could demonstrate for the first time the presence of special stem cells in human vascular walls that have the ability to develop into beating cardiac muscle cells under culture conditions,” the study authors explained.
If the treatments prove successful on humans, it could change the way that cardiovascular diseases are treated.
However, the study authors admit that they’re a long way away from introducing a medication or treatment to the market.
Researchers and medical professionals are enthused about the state of stem cell research.
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Stem Cells and Dental Tissue
Kids bruise easily. Sometimes their teeth are damaged in their tumbles. The tooth can effectively die if the damage is too severe. Exciting research from China shows that using stem cells harvested from the patient’s teeth might be an effective treatment.
“This treatment gives patients sensation back in their teeth. If you give them a warm or cold stimulation, they can feel it; they have living teeth again,” the study’s author explained. “So far we have follow-up data for two, two and a half, even three years and have shown it’s a safe and effective therapy.”
Dental treatments are notoriously expensive and hard to manage. A more effective way to treat dead teeth would be extremely helpful. People are reluctant to go to the dentist, which can make their dental problems even worse. People might be more willing to seek treatment if it was more affordable and less painful. Stem cell therapy is fast and minimally invasive.
The first trial of the study followed 40 children with injured or dead teeth. 30 children had their own stem cells injected into the damaged tooth. This group had more signs of repair than the control. Scientists found that the stem cells were extremely effective.
However, the treatment is only possible for children right now. Researchers used stem cells extracted from the children’s baby teeth, an option that wouldn’t exist for adult patients.
Stem Cells and Parkinson’s Disease
Researchers are looking into using stem cells as a treatment for Parkinson’s disease. Initial studies are encouraging. Human trials began about 30 years ago and are currently ongoing. Patients who have received stem cell-rich transplants have been shown to do very well in the years following their surgeries.
None of the treatment options are ready for the mainstream yet. However, there’s a lot of hope that something will eventually progress to that point.
Stem cell therapy research is surging ahead at a rapid pace. Science is becoming more sophisticated every year. Some researchers believe that stem cells could the answer to curing multiple different diseases.
However, the research so far has not been conclusive. Far more needs to be done before the average patient can be prescribed stem cell therapy treatments. Some patients are taking matters into their own hands and visiting stand-alone stem cell clinics.
The research is diverging into multiple strands. Stem cells, if they are useful, might be an effective treatment for many ailments that potential study topics are almost endless. There is a particular concentration of interest in using to stem cells to treat muscle degeneration, pain, and aging-related issues. Your stem cells naturally decline in number and become less effective as you age. It’s theorized if that effect could be reversed, human beings might be able to live for far longer.
It’s an exciting time for stem cell researchers. Fetal stem cells are still hard to use in studies but adult stem cells are not. Research is no longer being hampered by federal restrictions.