Stem cells are being used for a wide range of therapies. In fact, therapies that involve stem cells have been in use for many decades. A common use of stem cells is bone marrow transplantation.
A person’s bone marrow has stem cells inside of it, and once transplanted, the bone marrow provides the recipient with a new supply of blood cells. A lot of people suffer from a condition that causes their cells to become damaged and die.
However, another cause of cell death is aging. Some people sustain serious injuries, which cause cells to die faster than usual. The purpose of blood cells is to repair tissue, so when they’re functioning correctly, cells fight disease and injuries. Stem cells serve as replacements for damaged cells.
The Many Applications for Stem Cells
The inherent nature of stem cells makes them useable for a wide range of applications. The use of stem cells is called regenerative medicine, and these cells can be used for both bones and brains. Scientists aren’t sure why, but once transplanted into a recipient, stem cells seem to automatically lock onto damaged tissues.
It’s almost like they’re able to sense what areas of a person’s body are damaged. Scientists have been trying to create scaffolds for transplanted stem cells, which facilitate the healing process. With the use of artificial scaffolds, scientists have been able to grow artificial bladders.
The therapies that involve stem cells continue to shock and amaze scientists. Research shows that stem cells work well for treating various autoimmune diseases, like systemic lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. These are diseases that involve the body’s own defense system attacking itself.
In the treatment of autoimmune diseases, scientists hope to eliminate all of the immune cells in a person’s body and replace them with stem cells. It’s very common for stem cells to play the role of new cells, but they’re also used to aid the body’s own regeneration powers. Scientists have successfully used stem cells to treat cancer, brain damage, diabetes, spinal cord injury, blindness and baldness.
Research shows that it might be possible to use stem cells to reduce the effects of aging. It’s believed that over time the body loses its stem cells because of aging, so if the cells are replenished, the aging process could be greatly slowed.
Stem cells can be used to remove cancer cells and for tissue repair. Unfortunately, scientists still don’t completely understand stem cells and functions, so it’s likely that they’ll encounter many challenges.
Currently, however, stem cells are successfully used for many different applications, and in the future, stem cells will likely play a role in treating and curing most diseases.