Stem cells are basically blank building blocks, which are capable of developing into just about any cell in the body. Unlike a normal cell, which can only reproduce itself, a stem cell is capable of reproducing muscle of the heart, lung, brain, and every other tissue and organ in the body. Stem cell research is leading to the development of many new medical treatments.
For many years bone marrow, and more recently, umbilical cord blood stem cells, have been used to treat cancer patients with conditions such as leukemia and lymphoma. This is because, during chemotherapy (which is where the chemically kill all fast growing cells, such as cancer) most normal growing cells are killed by the cytotoxic agents. This is why people undergoing chemotherapy often lose their hair. Because cytotoxic chemicals are unable to discriminate between the leukemia or neoplastic cells, and the hematopoietic stem cells within the bone marrow, a patient will require a bone marrow transplant to re-start the growing of red blood cells. This side effect of conventional chemotherapy strategies are now being overcome by stem cell transplants, which are able to regrow the bone marrow.
In the future, scientists and medical researchers alike, believe that stem cell treatment will be able to treat many medical disorders and certain diseases. These will hopefully include medical treatments for: brain damage, heart disease, lung disease, a variety of cancers caused by disfunctioning cells, all types of diabetes, parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and a variety of other potentially devastating medical diseases and disorders.
What Are Stem Cells?
Stem cells are basically the simplest fundamental building blocks used in the human body to allow further development. Stem cells are basic cells, which hold the amazing potential to divide and develop into any other cell used in the human body. As a stem cell divides (like all living cells like to do) it has the capacity to divide into two stem cells indefinitely (provided the body remains alive) or divide into another type of cell, such as a skeletal cell, muscle cell, nerve cell or any other body tissue cell.
Stem cells act as an internal repair cells, providing the ability to replace destroyed or damaged cells naturally. More information about stem cells can be found on the US National Institute of Health here.
Stem Cell Therapy
What is involved in stem cell therapy? Stem cell therapy looks at medically introducing stem cells to damaged or broken cells, which have caused disease and or medical disorders.