Stem cells are a special group of cells that can replicate rapidly. As such, they tend to form any of the different cell types found in our bodies and play a significant role in its healing process. Beyond the ability to self-renew and develop into more specialized cells, stem cells vary widely. This is exactly why researchers use an array of these cells when carrying out their investigations. In today’s world of new medicine, stem cells have shown a promise in the treatment of a variety of conditions.
Types of Stem Cells
The main types of stem cells used for various therapies include:
Adult Stem Cells
There are several types of adult stem cells. They are inclusive of hematopoietic cells (blood stem cells) that are found in the bone marrow and give rise to red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. Another example of the adult stem cells includes mesenchymal cells that are found in the fat tissue. Their main job is to regenerate damaged tissue and replenish dying cells.
Embryonic Stem Cells
These stem cells are obtained from a hollow ball of cells, commonly referred to as the blastocyst. During normal development, the cells in the blastocyst give rise to more specialized cells that contribute to the formation of the body’s tissues and organs. These cells are highly valuable due to the fact that they are used as renewable resources for research studies and drug testing. However, when these specialized
cells are extracted by scientists, they have all the properties of the embryonic stem cells.
Umbilical Blood Stem Cells or Amniotic Fluid Stem Cells
The umbilical blood stem cells, as well as the amniotic fluid stem cells, comprise of the hematopoietic stem cells, just like those that are found in the bone marrow. These cells can be used for the generation of red blood cells as well as immune cells. They are helpful in the treatment of immune system disorders such as anemia and leukemia. While umbilical and amniotic fluid stem cells are commonly used in the treatment of children, they have been adopted in adult chemotherapy treatments.
Stem Cell Therapy
This is a set of techniques that are used to replace worn out or damaged cells with healthy functioning ones. Patients suffering from neurodegenerative conditions and diseases such a Parkinson’s disease, cancer, diabetes and heart diseases among other conditions are known to benefit greatly from various stem cell therapies. While a majority of stem cell therapy techniques are still relatively new, they keep getting better and their applications are becoming more acceptable.
Health Benefits That Stem Cell Therapy Provides
Clinical research regarding stem cells has dramatically grown over the years. Patients can enjoy the following health benefits of stem cell therapy:
Treatment of Orthopedic Injuries
Mesenchymal stem cells are used in cutting-edge orthopedic practices. They are useful for the replacement of cartilage, soft-tissue and bone repair. Stem cell injections in the bone marrow are known for the reduction of chronic pain and healing stubborn injuries.
Treatment of Cardiovascular Diseases
In the treatment of cardiovascular diseases, stem cells help in the stimulation of tissues in the blood vessels, generation of muscle cells, restoration of blood flow and a decrease in overstretching of cells.
Healing of Wounds and/or Incisions
Stem cell therapy has been found to pave way for the growth of new skin tissue, improvement of collagen concentration which facilitates the healing of wounds and the replacement of scar tissue. Burn victims can also benefit from this therapy as new skin is grafted to replace the damaged one.
Overcoming Autoimmune Disorders
Patients who suffer from autoimmune disorders can benefit from certain adult site cells that produce the much-needed cells such as insulin-producing cells in individuals with diabetes and thyroxine cells in those who are suffering from thyroid disorders. While this strategy is still being researched, scientists continue to carry out numerous experiments to ensure that the stem cells will work as intended.
Stem cells can also be used for the treatment of cerebral palsy, spinal cord injury and Alzheimer’s disease.
Stem cell therapy is all about replacing unhealthy cells with healthier ones. In turn, this allows the proper functioning of cells in the human body. Needless to say, the potential use of this kind of therapy keeps growing immensely on a daily basis. While it remains a new science, it has been associated with amazing results in terms of treating various diseases.
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