Stem cell science interests doctors and scientists for three main reasons: 1) They can help teach us how diseases occur; 2) They can be used to replace diseased cells, treating and preventing chronic diseases and conditions; and 3) They can be used for testing drugs for safety and effectiveness.
“By watching stem cells mature into cells in bones, heart muscle, nerves, and other organs and tissue, researchers and doctors may better understand how diseases and conditions develop,” writes the Mayo Clinic.
Understanding how mechanism behind disease origination is the first step towards finding a cure. Once the trigger(s) is unveiled, doctors can work to create countermeasures to prevent a trigger from ever firing.
“Finding out what causes that genetic mutation has been the holy grail of medical science for decades. Researchers believe they may have found one of the reasons why these genes mutate and it all has to do with how stem cells talk to each other,” Science Daily reported.
“Research that uses stem cells to treat nervous system disorders remains an area of great promise and challenge to demonstrate that cell-replacement therapy can restore lost function,” the National Institutes of Health said.
Many stem cell treatments focus on reducing the impact of disease on the human body, scientists are working to reverse disease by replacing lost or damaged cells with new cells taken from cells that can mature into nerve cells (neural stem cells).
“Stem cells can be guided into becoming specific cells that can be used to regenerate and repair diseased or damaged tissues in people.
People who might benefit from stem cell therapies include those with spinal cord injuries, type 1 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, stroke, burns, cancer and osteoarthritis.
Stem cells may have the potential to be grown to become new tissue for use in transplant and regenerative medicine. Before using investigational drugs in people, researchers can use some types of stem cells to test the drugs for safety and quality. This type of testing will most likely first have a direct impact on drug development first for cardiac toxicity testing,” the Mayo Clinic said.
Right now, scientists are using human embryonic stem cells to establish the toxicity of potential pharmaceuticals.
“New areas of study include the effectiveness of using human stem cells that have been programmed into tissue-specific cells to test new drugs. For the testing of new drugs to be accurate, the cells must be programmed to acquire properties of the type of cells targeted by the drug. Techniques to program cells into specific cells continue to be studied. For instance, nerve cells could be generated to test a new drug for a nerve disease. Tests could show whether the new drug had any effect on the cells and whether the cells were harmed,” writes the Mayo Clinic.
While this application of stem cells shows promise, using stem cells to test drug safety has a way to go before it is considered a viable method. But scientists are optimistic that they’ll get there.
Ideal candidates for stem cell therapy include those that are suffering from pain or dysfunction due to injury or age-related joint issues. If you are you worried that surgery, a lifelong dependency on pain medications, or a departure from your prior functionality are your only options, stem cell therapy may be for you.
Find out if you are a candidate for this revolutionary treatment by scheduling a free consultation with a stem cell therapist near you! If you have questions, or would like to know more about regenerative stem cell therapy, please call us at (877) 808-0016 or click contact us.