Stem cell therapy is a novel approach to improving health. Stem cells are used in regenerative medicine as building blocks of organs and tissues. Scientists pose big hopes for stem cell treatment, as it might cure several incurable conditions. The latest studies prove stem cells promote regeneration in the liver, heart, and vessels. Stem cell therapy shows noticeable results in treating diabetes, blood diseases, and neurodegenerative conditions. It’s also used in cosmetology.
In this article, we discuss what stem cells are and the benefits of stem cell therapy.
The basis of regenerative medicine
Stem cells are the resource for regenerative medicine as they can transform into any cell type in the human body. Modern medicine learned how to derive stem cells, cultivate them and use them for tissue repair.
Stem cells can be derived from embryos or body tissues.
Embryonic stem cells‘ function is to build organs and tissues and they can do so because of their ability to transform into cells of different types. A five-day-old embryo has approximately 150 stem cells. Scientists take them from embryos left after in vitro fertilization (IVF).
Adult stem cells are harvested from the skin, blood, brain, bone marrow, liver, or muscles of adult patients. Adult stem cells are responsible for tissue repair. They are more specific and can be applied only to the tissue they originate from.
Mesenchymal stem cells are another type of stem cell found in fat tissue, amniotic fluid, and umbilical cord tissue. Scientists use them to repair bones, tendons, and cartilage.
One more type of stem cell is induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS). Scientists can reprogram skin and blood stem cells into embryo-like stem cells to use them as a limitless source of any type of human cells.
How does stem cell therapy go?
Doctors transplant stem cells into damaged organs via injections. But first, they assess the health condition of the patient, perform required tests, and take tissue samples to prepare stem cells for transplantation. The procedure is non-invasive and doesn’t require a long-term hospital stay. As stem cells come from the patient’s body, there’s no risk of rejection. The recovery period is short, so patients can quickly return to their normal lives.
Benefits of stem cell therapy
Stem cells have shown their capability to improve the health of patients with severe medical conditions. According to studies, stem cell therapy increases the survival rate for patients with blood cancer. Currently, the FDA has approved stem cell-based therapies for treating blood-related diseases. These findings pave the way for clinicians to develop stem cell therapies for other severe diseases. Let’s outline the key advantages of stem cells.
#1 Stem cells are versatile
Stem cells can adjust to a specific type of tissue in the human body and take the place of the damaged cells. Stem cells differ in their potency. Embryonic stem cells are the most potent and can be transplanted into all organs and tissues. Adult stem cells can target the tissue they were derived from. Currently, scientists work on ways to manipulate stem cells and increase their potency. Thus, iPS cells were created. They can also be stimulated to regenerate any organ or tissue.
#2 No need for surgery
Stem cell therapy doesn’t involve surgical intervention. Therapists deliver stem cells via injections. The procedure is fast and painless. Tissue sampling may cause slight discomfort if a patient needs the transplantation of stem cells from bone marrow. Skin or blood sampling doesn’t need surgical manipulations.
#3 Easy and fast recovery
Stem cell therapy goes without applying anesthesia, surgery, or concomitant medications so the body doesn’t need much time to recover. The therapy allows patients to return to their normal lives as fast as possible.
#4 A cure for severe illnesses
There are dozens of diseases considered incurable. Stem cells have the potential to improve some of them. For example, studies and trials reveal positive outcomes of stem cells in treating Alzheimer’s disease, degenerative disc disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis, Parkinson’s disease, and more. Ongoing research is aimed to prove stem cell therapy safety so that it can be used on a large scale.
#5 Medication-free treatment
Among other benefits of stem cell treatment is it doesn’t require ancillary drugs. Unlike stem cell therapy, traditional medicine usually uses supplement medications in therapy to ease the pain or prevent side effects. Stem cells don’t cause severe adverse effects and require no drugs to bolster treatment. Stem cell treatment is also cost-effective as it requires 1 to 3 injections and no supplements.
#6 Helps to combat chronic pain
Several studies report stem cells can reduce the inflammation in damaged tissue and provide pain relief. For example, stem cells reduce back pain for patients with degenerative disk disease.
#7 No rejection or side effects
Stem cell therapy uses the patient’s biological material to repair their bodies. The cell origin eliminates the risk of developing side effects (such as allergy) or rejection.
The scientific community carefully studies stem cell potential to treat chronic and degenerative diseases. So we will probably find out even more benefits of stem cell therapy soon. Nowadays, regenerative medicine is one of the most progressive ways to heal tendons and joints, sports injuries, blood diseases, and more. Stem cell therapy may become the safest and most efficient approach to maintain health in the next few decades.
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