Stem cell research has been one of the biggest leading medical breakthroughs. By using stem cells, greater research on combating disease and understanding how a disease forms and develops has been achieved. One of the benefits of stem cell research that has emerged is stem cell therapy, which offers a significant improvement when it comes to medical treatments, and may lead to enormous breakthroughs in medical science.
What is Stem Cell Therapy?
So what is stem cell therapy? Stem cell therapy, also known as regenerative medicine, uses stem cells to promote the repair response of of diseased or injured tissue. The stem cells are usually extracted from two areas of the patient’s body: the bone marrow or adipose (fat) tissue in their upper thigh/abdomen. In using cells cells instead of donor organs, stem cell therapy can also be the next development in organ transplantation.
When researchers grow stem cells in a lab, they manipulate the cells to specialize in into specific types of cells, such as blood cells, nerve cells, or heart muscle cells. These specialized cells can then be implanted into the patient. The cells are usually implanted by form of injections.
Benefits of Stem Cell Therapy
Stem cell therapy can be used to treat a variety of conditions like knee pain, ACL injuries, and some cardiovascular diseases. Stem cell therapy can also help speed up the time it takes to heal from injury, reduce chronic pain, decrease nerve damage, and help generate new heart and blood vessel tissue, among a variety of other benefits.
The California Stem Cell Agency states there’s ‘no limit to the types of diseases that can be treated with stem cell research’, and stem cell therapy is just one of the methods pushing scientists to make this statement true.
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Stem cell therapy treatments are continuously researched and introduced as a new option for a variety of ailments. Stem cell therapies are also looking to be a great option for patients with any cardiovascular disease, vision impairments, diabetes and other pancreatic dysfunctions, and so many more. With the right research and discovery, the sky’s the limit when it comes to stem cell therapy.
Stem cell therapy has also been used in the research setting to treat several neurological conditions like strokes, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s Disease. There is still more research to be done regarding the effects of stem cell therapy on neurological, but researchers are sure that the therapy affects inflammation, which is one of the major causes of neurological damage. Also, administration of bone marrow and adipose derived stem cell therapies are being moved forward to human clinical trials. This is a major feat to ensure added confidence in stem cell therapies.
The physical benefits of stem cell therapy is immediate. Most patients receive the procedure anywhere between 1 week and 3 months. Within 1 or 2 treatments, most patients report a great reduction in pain, as well as better mobility and improved overall functionality.
Questions about Stem Cell Therapy
Why is stem cell therapy such a big deal? Well to put it this way, stem cells are an extremely beneficial factor to medical research. Stem cells can be moved from one part of the body to another, as well as divide and become another type of cell with a specialized function. Stem cells also contain a natural natural growth factors that accelerate the body’s natural healing response.
What cell therapies are available right now? Ten cell therapies have been approved worldwide as of January 2016. However, the most used form of stem cell therapy is bone marrow transplantations. Coincidentally, bone marrow cells were also the first stem cells to be identified, as well as used in clinics. Bone marrow transplantations have been a lifesaver for patients with diagnosed with blood cancers, like leukemia.
Are stem cell therapies offered everywhere? Many forms of stem cell therapy are still under research. Because of this, there is still some concern of safety with stem cell therapy that does not have enough backing research. Stem cell tourism, a growing problem for reputable stem cell scientists, is when patients interested in stem cell therapies go overseas. These therapies are advertised as being miraculous and life-changing, but man have lack of research and safety, so this could be a fatal decision. If you’re interested in stem cell therapy, look into the right reputable sources.
Why do stem cell therapies take so long? Before testing stem cells on a human disease, researchers must grow the right cell type. Then of course, they must find a way to test these cells, and make sure the cells are safe in animals before moving onto human trials. The path is a long one, but it will be worth it in the end in the name of medical research and the next big breakthrough of disease treatment.
The Future of Stem Cell Therapy
The future of medical breakthroughs and disease study and treatment is bright with stem cell therapy. Though there is still plenty of research to be done, the hopes of medical researchers and scientists is that going forward, the stem cells can be used as a ‘renewable source of replacement cells and tissues’ to treat common or serious diseases. Also, this could get rid of the need for organ transplants or other surgeries.
Some of the diseases researchers are hopeful stem cell therapy will eventually be used for are spinal cord injury, burns, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and cancer. Stem cell therapy for cancer is an especially desired goal, as early studies are showing that stem cells are safe and being tolerated well in patients with a variety of cancers, including acute and chronic leukemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma.
Stem cell therapy may be a big game-changer when it comes to the treatment of disease. Though the research is still ongoing, there is hope that stem cell therapy will be beneficial and life-saving when it comes to diseases deemed otherwise untreatable. Stem cell therapy now is majorly improving patients’ way of life, and the benefits of this medical breakthrough can only increase, as time and research continues on.
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