The first successful bone marrow transplant in 1956 has opened the door of new therapeutic modality- stem cell therapy. Since then, stem cell treatment and research is continuously evolving and expanding. Few decades ago, our neuro doctors were in notion that brain cells cannot regenerate, but today with stem cell research it has been evident that stem cells can naturally regenerate lost neurons and improve brain functionality. Just as aspirin and penicillin have revolutionised healthcare in the past, now stem cells are arising as promising therapeutic option for various incurable diseases.
Before we dig into what stem cells can do, we start with what actually stem cells are. Stem cells are key to our longevity and health and these are present within us only. These are naturally occurring undifferentiated cells and have two unique properties- self renewal and multi lineage differentiation potential i.e. they can divide infinitely without losing their characteristics and they can differentiate into different kinds of cells. Stem cells help us every day to repair damaged tissues and cells. Normally stem cells lie latent in our body until they receive signals from injured area. These cells migrate to injury area and stimulate the cells to regenerate and heal the damaged tissue. However, with the progression of the disease, an additional supply of them is needed that can fasten the healing process. The exploitation of this natural process of stem cells can shift the treatment modality of disease and change life in a better way.
Stem cell therapies are rapidly evolving and coming up as promising viable option for a wide range of diseases including neuro disorders, heart diseases, eye diseases, diabetes, skin injuries etc. In today’s world, medical world is exploring the latest technology through stem cells that can treat many diseases that are non-treatable with traditional therapies.
Here are just few of possibilities that stem cell therapy can offer-
Neuro degenerative disorder: One of the most important uses of stem cell therapy is in the treatment of neuro degenerative disorders including Parkinson, Cerebral palsy, Alzheimer disease etc. Current gold standard treatment involves physiotherapy, speech therapy that just reduces the symptoms and not provides a complete cure. Stem cell research has paved the way for utilizing stem cell for neurological disorders. A Clinical trial conducted on cerebral palsy patients with stem cells exhibited good degree of improvement in cognitive, functional, and bladder and bowel control.
Diabetes: The prevalence of diabetes is rapidly growing worldwide and people are compelled to live with daily insulin injections. Stem cell therapy for diabetes mellitus holds great potential to relieve diabetics of daily insulin injections, and may offer a more permanent solution to controlling high blood sugar levels.
Regenerating healthy tissues: Replacing damaged or diseases human tissue is difficult process, however stem cells can overcome a lot of the problems associated with organ transplant. Using the body’s own cells to regenerate tissue will eliminate the risk of transplant rejection in organs or with skin grafts. Worldwide research is going on to replace damaged tissues with healthy new cells from patients and getting positive results.
Stem cells in anti-aging – Recent advancements in anti-aging and cosmetic research have unveiled the potential of stem cells in achieving rejuvenated skin. Stem cell treatments for anti-aging has potential of rejuvenating the skin, face and improve skin tone and glow. A large number of studies have proven that stem cells replace, re-grow, and repair on a cellular level, resolve age related conditions like hair loss, skin wrinkles, acne etc, and person get more youthful levels of energy.
The top most benefits of stem cell treatments are that they are very effective, simple and convenient over to tedious, invasive options such as organ transplantation’s or surgery. All it needs is a simple one day hospitalisation with the application of local anaesthesia.
Undoubtedly, we are at the edge of a major stem cell breakthrough. Stem cells in future will provide effective low-cost treatment for diabetes, blindness, heart attack, stroke, spinal cord damage and many other health problems.