The medical field is advancing like never before. Developments in every discipline occur all the time. Medical professionals are using state-of-the-art equipment and advanced techniques to perform incredibly precise procedures.
One of the most interesting treatments being used is stem cell treatments. You have probably heard that term being thrown around, but what are the details? Here is a very simplified explanation of what stem cells are and how they work.
A stem cell, according to walkerspineandsport.com, is “an undifferentiated cell—one that does not have a specific function—that is capable of being replicated.” Essentially it is the wild card of the cells in your body. They grow and can produce more cells, known as daughter cells, that either become stem cells or a specialized cell with a specific purpose.
Stem cells are popular for their versatility. They can be used to generate many different types of cells. This can occur naturally, but can also be done by removing stem cells from the body and producing the new cells in a lab.
Where can stem cells be used? Great question. In theory, there is no limit to what stem cells can do. There is still research being done to determine how to treat certain diseases and injuries, but the potential is there.
Currently, there is hope that stem cell treatments can be used to treat issues related to cancer, heart disease, neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, and joint and spinal injuries. A procedure using stem cells to help produce blood has saved the lives of thousands of Leukemia patients. There is seemingly unlimited potential for these cells.
The answer to why are stem cells being used can be found throughout the other sections of this article. These cells have the capability to generate cells genetically designed to carry out a specific function in your body.
If the stem cells truly can do that, then their potential needs to be researched. In theory, any injury could be treated with the right manipulation of stem cells. Some of that may come in a lab, but if the medical field has learned one thing over the years, it is that the human body generally does a really good job of taking care of itself.
Take the example given above of the Leukemia patients. Leukemia is a cancer affecting the blood and bone marrow cells. It produces abnormal cells that cannot fight infection very well and can affect the growth of healthy blood cells. Stem cell treatment allows for healthy cells to be injected into the bone marrow and helps the process of producing healthy cells start fresh after radiation treatment.
Essentially, stem cells will be donated to a lab where they will be manipulated into producing specialized cells. Once grown, they would be injected into the place where the patient needed treatment. The cells follow their genetic design and start to carry out their genetically coded function.
This is done with the possibility and hope that the cells will repair the damage they find. If researched thoroughly and accepted as a sound medical practice, this could further organ donation, as the world will never have the supply of donated organs it needs.
There are unknowns when it comes to stem cell treatments and therapy. There have been successes, but there are also concerns. If such a treatment is suggested you should carefully research your options, just like you should for any operation or treatment. The medical field is advancing, and we are the recipients of the wealth of knowledge that the medical field has gained. Hopefully, stem cell treatment is the answer to many medical problems, a renewable producible cure to many deadly ailments is just what this world needs.