Stem cells have been a controversial topic for many years now but their healing effect on many diseases is undeniable. Conditions such as autism, MS, and many others have seen a rise in the cured cases all thanks to stem cell transplants. Now, as they are effective, there are still some uncharted grounds of which the science world is well aware but there is a constant ongoing process of turning every single stone there is when it comes to the potential uses of stem cells. One of the major factors in this endeavour is the fact that we already know how to store them properly. By storing cord blood from babies we can extract, process, and keep stem cells alive for decades allowing us to save some for future research when we have better and more advanced technology.
Before we dive deeper into the uses of these cells, let’s first discuss what they are exactly…
A Deeper Look Into Stem Cells
Stem cells are basically a very undifferentiated type of cells which can transform into literally any other type of cell in the human body. This means that every cell begins as a stem cell (either from the bone marrow, blood, adipose tissue or cord blood). Every tissue in our body has its own supply of stem cells that constantly regenerate the rest of the cells. This supply is also multiplying itself constantly meaning that it is self sufficient. The reason why stem cells are so important is that we can make them regenerate anything we want from liver damage, through brain damage all the way to issues with our blood vessels or muscles. In other words, these are the building blocks of our body and knowing how to use them will open every imaginable door.
Let’s take a brief look at some of the potential fields in which stem cells are now entering and list the conditions which can be treated by a simple transplant.
The Various Uses
The current applications of stem cells vary a lot but in general they can be separated into three different categories:
- Stem Cell Research
- Stem Cell Treatments
- Stem Cell Storing
This is the order in which they appeared as well. First, we started researching these cells as they promised great results, then we started implementing them carefully into various treatments for mental and neuro conditions and lastly we found a way to store them. If you want to learn more about the whole storing process, head out to our Main Page.
Apart from those fields, there are countless diseases that are treated with stem cells on a daily basis. Some of them are:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Liver, Kidney, Lung, And Heart Conditions
- Sexual Dysfunction
Apart from these, there are 65 conditions that can be treated by stem cells in total. In theory, there isn’t a disease or condition we cannot treat with stem cells. This is due to the fact that they can basically create any tissue, organ, or vessel we want and therefore are theoretically omnipotent when it comes to healing capabilities. This is why, in our opinion, the future of medicine lies within this specific area of improvement.
Now let’s take a look at each one of those categories.
Stem Cell Research
There are countless journals which all focus on the research aspect of the stem field. Furthermore, there are teams all over the world which coordinating between each other focus on different aspects of stem cell improvement. Most hospitals today conduct their own clinical trials as well. All this results in a field which is saturated with great minds all working towards a unified goal.
The newest projects include solutions for some more complex diseases such as Osteogenesis Imperfecta, Leukemia, and many other diseases which have no other available treatment (that works good enough).
Stem Cell Treatments
As we mentioned earlier, treatments with stem cells vary greatly and there isn’t a system that cannot be influenced by a stem cell transplant. The transplantation process itself is among the first procedures to be done with such cells and has been proven to work in most of the cases. Still, as a regular transplant process, there is a donor and an acceptor which have to be a complete match for the best results. In some cases, partial matches are good enough. These are the cases when people get stem cells transplanted from relatives or close family’s cord blood storage supplies. Baby’s who had their umbilical blood taken and stored away have a 100% match with themselves later on when they need those cells.
Stem Cell Storing
Storing stem cells is a complex process which involves a lot of consecutive procedures such as:
- Storing under cryo conditions
All of these steps are conducted by a highly trained staff which carefully monitors the current stem cell status. The final product is a well preserved (cryogenically frozen) batch of the baby’s cord blood which is purified to contain mostly its stem cells and lacks the blood cells. That process ensures they can be put away like that for decades to come and be used in a matter of minutes at any given time.
To find out which are the best reasons for you and your family to consider banking your kid’s cord blood, visit our Info Article on the topic.
Some Final Words
In conclusion, only the future can tell what possible answers will stem cells bring us but until then all we can do is keep improving the current extracting and storing methods and keep investing into various research projects. Currently, the US government is the world’s leader in stem cell research despite the huge controversy among its people. Some people say that we shouldn’t play with the “God’s cell” as it will disrupt the natural order of things. This is logical since stem cells will most likely solve some of medicine’s greatest problems. On the other hand, medical progress and universal healthcare are one of the top priorities of the United Nations and therefore improvements in the stem cell area are only a matter of time and resources.