Over the last few years, technology, research, and success rates involving stem cells & regenerative medicine have skyrocketed. This treatment type holds a great deal of promise to help patients who suffer from chronic pain conditions.
What are Stem Cells?
Stem cells are the only type of cell in the body that have the natural ability to generate new cell types. Stem cells are referred to as undifferentiated cells because it can become any type of cell. Our bodies require a variety of cells in order to survive and function, but each type of cell is not naturally produced in its full, mature state.
Stem cells are cells in your body from which all other cells are created. These cells specialize in dividing to form more cells called “daughter cells.” Daughter cells then become new stem cells or become highly specialized cells with a specific function such as blood cells, bone cells, brain cells, or muscle cells.
How Can Stem Cells Be Used?
In theory, there is no limit on how stem cells can be used in medicine, since they have self-renewing qualities. Scientists and researchers have found that stem cells are useful in many ways, and the areas of utilization continue to progress.
- Understand how diseases occur. Watching and studying stem cells as they mature into their differentiated state helps doctors understand certain diseases and how conditions develop.
- Drug Development. Stem cells are used to test drugs for safety and quality. Studying the effectiveness of medications on human stem cells determines their accuracy and toxicity. Stem cells can be “turned into” specific types of cells under the supervision of a medical profession in labs, which allows Pharma companies to test how drugs work on targeted types of cells and conditions.
- Cell-Based Therapy. Stem cells play an important role in cell-based therapy. THis type of treatment utilizes the understanding of cell development, how cells morph into different types of cells, and how those new cells are maintained.
- Regenerative Medicine. The body’s natural ability to heal itself is harnessed by stimulating the regrowth of damaged tissue or cells. Stem cells are used to because they can be grown externally and implanted into a patient’s body when natural regrowth is incapable of occurring.
Stem Cell Therapy
Stem cells play a vital role in many treatments for conditions like cancer and heart disease. Stem cell therapy promotes the repair and regrowth of damaged, diseased, or injured tissue using the power of stem cells.
Stem cells can be grown in a laboratory setting where they are manipulated to grow into specific cell types – heart muscle cells, nerve cells, or blood cells. These cells are implanted into a patient. The healthy cells work to repair muscles and tissues that are injured or dysfunctional.
What Conditions Can Stem Cells Treat
Stem cells have the ability to create new tissue for the use of transplants and regenerative medicine. Regenerative medicine harnesses the body’s ability to heal itself and regrow tissue and cells, creating a direct correlation to how stem cells are used in certain therapies.
Stem cell therapy is proven to be beneficial to patients with the following injuries or diseases:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Type 1 diabetes
- Parkinson’s disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Heart disease
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis