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As we get older, our bodies naturally deteriorate and don’t hold up as well as they used to. We become susceptible to diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke, cancer, and more.
While there are some steps we can take to prevent a few of these diseases, with others, we are helpless against them. However, there are ways to alleviate their symptoms; stem cell regenerative medicine is one of them.
If you’re interested in learning about stem cell regenerative medicine, then read on. We’ll go into detail about this fascinating and groundbreaking field.
What Are Stem Cells?
Before we delve into stem cell regenerative medicine, we need to first understand what stem cells are and what they do.
Stem cells are the most basic type of cells you can find in the body. Essentially, they’re the base template for all cells. Whatever you need in the body, it’ll turn the stem cell into it.
This is why you can find an abundance of stem cells in embryos. In their early stages, before they implant in the uterus, embryos contain “totipotent cells” in the inner cell mass (the part of the embryo that becomes the human; the outer cell mass becomes the placenta).
“Totipotent” stands for “total potential” and refers to how these cells can become any other cell in the body. This indicates that there’s lots of potential in these cells.
You can also find stem cells in various places of the adult human body, but they’re not as abundant. Some locations include your brain, skin, bone marrow, liver, blood, and skeletal muscles.
Other sources include the connective tissue around your organs (mesenchymal stem cells, or MSCs) and lab-created cells (induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS).
What Is Stem Cell Regenerative Medicine?
Since stem cells have the potential to become any cell in the body, scientists have always been interested in finding out how to “nudge” these cells to grow in the direction they want.
This can be especially beneficial for certain diseases and disorders, especially those that destroy healthy cells. What causes a lot of the pain, discomfort, and degeneration of health is the lack of healthy cells.
In theory, stem cell regenerative medicine means growing some healthy cells for the patients and giving it to them. That way, they can regrow healthy cells and repair anything that’s been damaged.
What Is It Useful For?
A main way stem cell regenerative medicine can be useful is for damaged organs. For example, if someone has cirrhosis, they’d usually be put on a donor list and would receive a new organ-based on their urgency (i.e. how damaged their liver is).
However, organ donation is based on chance, since most come from unfortunate accidents. Recipients usually stay on the lists for years, during which they suffer even more pain and discomfort. Sometimes, they may not even receive an organ at all, and die as a result.
Stem cell regenerative medicine can change all that. Instead of making their patients wait for a donor organ, doctors can have stem cells grown in labs.
Using the example from above, they’d get healthy liver cells grown in a lab. Then, they’d inject it into the liver. Not only would the healthy liver cells replace damaged cells, but they can also help repair the other ones as well.
Bone Marrow Transplants
One type of stem cell regenerative medicine you may be familiar with is bone marrow transplants. The first bone successful bone marrow transplant was performed in 1968; a toddler with Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome was the lucky recipient.
As you can see, the technology’s been around for quite some time. It’s been revolutionary in the world of oncology.
When you have cancer and go through chemotherapy, all these factors can destroy your bone marrow. This can lead to a decline in health since you don’t produce enough red or white blood cells.
Bone marrow transplants allow more serious cancer patients to get a better fighting chance against their cancers. With transplants, their bodies can produce significantly more red and white blood cells.
Stem cell regenerative medicine is also hugely beneficial for burn victims. While skin grafts are effective for injuries spanning smaller surfaces, they’re not as ideal when the victims have little undamaged skin to work with.
In this case, doctors can get a skin cell sample and send it to a lab. The lab can essentially clone the cells rapidly to generate a cluster of skin cells. Then, this cluster can be transplanted onto the burn victim to speed up the healing process.
Some medical practices, like Body Care Regenerative, use stem cell regenerative medicine to help inflammation and injuries in areas such as the knee, wrist, or shoulder. These treatments are very helpful for things like degenerative medical conditions and injuries in muscles and ligaments.
The best thing about this type of medicine is treatment can be specifically tailored to your body. By speeding up the healing process, regenerative medicine enables you to lead a more pain-free and comfortable life.
Get Better Quality of Life
Now that you know the wonderful things stem cell regenerative medicine can do, perhaps you should give it a try yourself. If you’ve lived with certain diseases or disorders, you may be able to benefit from this kind of medicine.
There are many doctors in this groundbreaking field, so just take a look around to find the right one for you.
For some more interesting reads, please check out our other blog articles.