Wait, stem cells have a language? Yes! Researchers at the Medical University of Vienna have made a significant breakthrough for the field of stem cell science and research. For the first time, they have shown why stem cells act the way they do. According to a recent publication in Science Daily, these scientists have discovered vital information for preventing the formation of pluripotent stem cell tumors–a major roadblock to the progress of stem cell treatment. What does this mean for the future of stem cells and the medical science? Read on to find out!
Stem cells have the potential for helping treat common conditions such as: heart attacks, cancer, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and diabetes, as well as a other rare genetic diseases. Scientists have been working with pluripotent stem cell technology for over a decade to create specific human cells (heart muscle cells, nerve cells, islet cells, etc.) so they could then transplant these cells into patients to regenerate damaged tissue and/or organs and restore functionality. The problem? Pluripotent stem cells can cause patients to develop tumors. This drastic result has slowed the progress of human applications for stem cells. But now, there is hope. Scientists have discovered why the tumors were forming and think they may even know a way to stop them from forming in the future.
The scientists involved in the university study found that stem cells have to attract normal cells from the surrounding body tissue using their own kind of “language” for the tumors to form. Understanding the language of stem cells has helped scientists understand the resultant tumors in a way they hadn’t supposed. The tumors result from symbiosis between the stem cells themselves and recruited cells from surrounding normal tissue. By decoding the stem cell molecular mechanism scientists believe they can inhibit it and stop the tumors from forming: “We were able to demonstrate that the development of stem cell tumours can be effectively inhibited by blockading this mechanism,” says Markus Hengstschläger, Chairman of the Institute of Medical Genetics (Science Daily, 2017).
So what does the discovery of the language of stem cells mean for medical science? It serves as a major step forward for the safe therapeutic application of pluripotent stem cells in humans–this is no small thing. While the science and technology behind stem cells is still evolving, research and data are making significant strides forward with different applications.
Stem cell therapy is used today to help prevent and treat certain diseases and conditions. Bone marrow transplant is the most widely used stem-cell therapy, but some therapies derived from umbilical cord blood are also popular.
Stem cell injections are also a type of therapy available today. Amniotic stem cell therapy injections deliver stem cells from amniotic tissues into your body. (For clarification, this type of stem cell comes from the amniotic sac – not an embryo. ) Similar to cortisone and steroid shots, stem-cell injections have anti-inflammatory properties, but these injections offer far more benefits than standard injection therapies. While cortisone and other drugs only provide temporary pain relief, stem cells actually restore degenerated tissue AND eliminate pain. The growth factors in amniotic stem cells replace damaged cells in your body. Inflammation is treated simultaneously during treatment because the injections contain hyaluronic acid, which lubricates joints and tendons, easing the pain and helping restore mobility.
The best way for you to learn more about stem cell therapy, and find out if you are a candidate for treatment, is through a free consultation with a medical provider trained in this specialized field. The more knowledge you have, the better equipped you will be to find long-term solutions for your health and wellness.