Stem cells have incredible potential to cure many diseases and chronic conditions because of their ability to differentiate into many different types of cells. There are various types of stem cells utilized in medicine today such as amniotic, adult and cord-blood stem cells. Cord-blood stem cells are especially important to patients with diseases—such as leukemia—that affects bone marrow. Cord-blood stem cell transplants have become a viable alternative to bone-marrow transplants for treating blood disorders when a bone-marrow match is unavailable. Find out how this process works, how these stem cells help patients heal and what other transplants stem cells are involved in.
Stem cells are an amazing and natural part of your body. Every part of your body is made up of specific types of cells. You have skin cells to build your skin, liver cells for your liver, and specific cells for every part in your body. What if your body becomes injured? Your body needs a way to repair it’s cells and it does that through stem cells that you already have!
When you are injured, your body circulates blood through your system, sending nutrients to the site of an injury. Blood platelets come with that circulation and make up blood clots that turn into scabs that help your body patch itself. However, your body won’t just permanently have a patch where it was injured; it will rebuild itself. This is where stem cells come into play. Every person is born with stem cells in their body that lie dormant until an injury happens. Those stem cells jump into action and follow your blood platelets to the site of your injury. They recognize what type of cells your body needs to rebuild and then they transform into that type of cell for regeneration. Stem cells are the only type of cell that can do this.
Every person has countless parts of their body where an injury can happen. We would like to focus on your body’s bone marrow and how bone marrow is related to stem cell transplants. Every person has bone marrow in their bones. Your bones are not just solid masses in your body. They have cavities and open spaces in them that are filled with a soft, fatty substance called bone marrow. This bone marrow is where the body makes blood cells. Your bones may be hard, but they have spongy insides that need nourishment and blood to stay strong.
A person needs bone marrow and their blood cells in order to live. However, there are people who have blood cancers that affect their body’s ability to make blood cells. Some of those cancers include leukemia and lymphoma, both of which affect millions of people. In fact, studies suggest that about 10,000 people in the United States alone are diagnosed with cancer or other serious disease that affects their body’s bone marrow. Because these diseases stop red blood cell production—which is vital to live—patients must receive bone marrow transplants in order to survive. Not only does your body’s bone marrow make around 200 billion red blood cells every day, but the bone marrow of the body is also rich in stem cells. That is the connecting factor between bone marrow and stem cell transplants.
Patients who have cancer and who are going through treatments, will often have to use radical treatments to kill their cancer cells. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are effective for killing cancer cells, but they also kill a person’s stem cells in the process. Patients need those stem cells—especially in the bone marrow of their body—so that the stem cells keep producing blood cells. Your stem cells in your bone marrow produce new blood cells every day that go throughout your body through blood vessels. However, if you kill your stem cells in the process of killing cancer, you have to replenish those stem cells.
You can use stem cells from your own body or receive stem cells from other’s donations to help speed up your injury healing time. Thousands and thousands of stem cell transplants have been done for many places all over the body. Stem cell transplants are used extensively to treat patients with cancer and diseases that affect their bone marrow. Cancer patients first receive their treatment to kill the cancer in their body. Then, they receive stem cell transplants from others through a process called engraftment. This is when a patient receives stem cell transplants through a vain in their body. Those stem cells travel through the body’s circulatory system and eventually settle in the bone marrow of the body. The goal is for the stem cells to begin to multiply in the bone marrow to make healthy cells once more in a patient.
Stem cell transplants happen every day, especially with cancer patients. Autologous stem cell transplants happen when stem cells are taken from one part of a person’s own body and transferred to their bone marrow. Allogeneic stem cell transplants are stem cells that come from another person. However, a donor has to match a cancer patient’s blood type and must meet many health-related requirements to be a bone marrow donor.
The process of stem cell transplants can be lengthy, but they are worth it to thousands of patients each year who are fighting for their lives. Anyone can be a potential stem cell donor to others who are in need. Stem cells can be used to help cancer patients or they can be used to help a person who has a small injury or chronic pain. To learn about stem cells and how they can help you with your pain or health symptoms, call Stem Cell Centers today at (877) 808-0016!