Recently, I came across a news wherein, almost all 300 patients were given kidneys, which were second-handed i.e. turned down by other hospitals. The patients were not informed about this. Doctors explained the circumstances, as the shortage of donors!!!
This scenario explains to us, how critical the situation of our healthcare system is! On one side, it is very important to save the life of a patient; whereas on the other side, there is an increasing burden of organ shortage, pathological attack, and immune rejection. This shows the urgent need of adapting a better technology, which can possibly save us from getting trapped in between duty and ethical regulations.
Stem cell technology is now being viewed as the potential to do both. Stem cells are the pristine cells of the body, which are proved to be differentiating into various other cells as per the requirement. As a matter of fact, nature has created a safe mechanism to save our body from its normal wear and tear. Stem cells are practically present in almost all mature organs in a completely undifferentiated state. These cells are destined to become tissue-oriented adult cells, to perform the different tasks of that particular tissue. However, it is also interesting to know that when the organ faces sudden trauma, e.g. kidneys when having acute kidney injuries due to some of the metabolic or genetic factors, the resident cell undergoes massive death, due to which the burden on kidney stem cells to retain their number increases. This necessitates an emergency additional provision of stem cells; otherwise slowly and progressively the organ undergoes failure, disturbing our lives.
However, the technology has identified some of the sources in our own bodies, exhibiting an abundant supply of stem cells. They are known as Bone Marrow and Adipose Tissue. Stem cells can be isolated from two of these sources, enriched in the laboratory, and implanted back into the patient’s body, directly at the site of the target through direct channelization via catheter. The mode of transplant is popularly known as “Autologous”. Once inside the organ, they secrete micro-environment, attract various cytokine to clear the debris of dead cells, attract growth factors to secrete more amount of enzymes and proteins which facilitate regeneration of new cells.
This is the safe and feasible technique to avoid the hassles of finding a suitable donor or right organs as well to avoid immune rejection. Thus stem cell treatment can definitely be the next-generation way to treat many diseases.