Stem Cells: A Future One Stop Solution To All Deadly Diseases?
Stem cells are the primary cells which specialize over time to give rise to tissues, organs and then the complete human being. This mere fact explains that how powerful these cells are. These cells undergo several changes which make them special for carrying out different specialized functions.
Some the most deadly diseases that trouble mankind like cancer and birth defects are due to defects in the cell specialization. Therefore, if we have knowledge about the whole process of development of a stem cell, solutions to these problems are possible.
Another area where stem cells can be used is organ transplants. Human body is like a machine which is made up of many spare parts. The advances in science and technology have now made it possible to replace a diseased part with a healthier one. But considering that the demand is much more than supply we need to find an alternate source which is reliable and never ending.
Stem cells hold the promise of providing an endless source of new organs that can be used for transplant. The ability of a stem cell to modify and multiply to give rise to a complete organ is the focus of study. If things go as expected doctors will be able to treat several diseases using stem cells which include amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, arthritis, burns, spinal cord injury and diabetes.
There are three types of stems cells which can be deployed for the treatment of different medical conditions, they are:
Bone marrow stem cells
Bone marrow is the blood cells manufacturing ‘industry’ of human body.The cells also called as hematopoietic cells specialize in the production of RBCs or red blood corpuscles. People who suffer from blood defects those including blood cancer are being treated with bone marrow stem cells. It is estimated that around 50,000 people are treated every year with bone marrow transplants or bone marrow stem cells transplant. A wide array of diseases can be treated using stem cells, some of which are:
Lymphomas and leukemia
Bone marrow failure states like aplastic anemia
Inherited disorders like SCID
Metabolic diseases like Hurler’s syndrome
Myelodysplastic disorders like refractory anemia
These are just a few and researchers are exploring the potential of bone marrow stem cells in the treatment of other diseases as well.
Stem cells of the spinal cord
Spinal cord is the support on which human body works. There are disorders like sclerosis in which the use of spinal cord stem cells is being studied. Clinical trials are under process for the treatment of Lou Gehrig’s disease also known as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.
Human mesenchymal stem cells
Research is going on for the treatment of various medical conditions which include:
Curing diabetes by protecting the beta islets of the pancreas in patients with newly diagnosed diabetes I
For repairing heart tissues after heart attack
For repairing the tissues of lungs in patients suffering from COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
Stem cells hold a lot of potential for the treatment of deadly diseases. That is the sole reason why many biotechnological companies are working towards it.