What is a Stem Cell?
A stem cell is a cell that has the ability to differentiate into specialized cells of the body. During the development, all cells originate initially from these stem cells. Some of the stem cells are retained throughout life to regenerate and repair damaged body parts. They can divide over and over to generate new cells. Scientists are now working on using these stem cells as a therapy to treat various organs damaged as a result of invasive diseases. Various biologics CDMO companies are becoming a part of this race.
Uses Of Stem Cells:
Stem cells are revolutionizing the science of the current age. They have several uses in
- Research – to understand how living body cells respond to various diseases
- Therapy – to replace and regenerate the cells that our body is unable to repair naturally.
Facts You Need to Know About Stem Cell Treatment
The knowledge about stem cells is not yet complete and the media sometimes exaggerate the effects and outcomes of stem cell therapy to gain traction for various clinics providing the treatment. It is important to differentiate fact from fiction in this case
- Few Effective Stem Cell Treatment:
There is only a short list of diseases that stem cell treatment has been proved effective against. The best among them is hematopoietic stem cell transplants like bone marrow transplants for treating immune system diseases and blood disorders. Some bone, skin, and eye diseases can also be treated through stem cell grafting. These treatments are classified as safe and effective.
- Unproven Therapies:
There are some unproven stem cell therapies that most people try thinking that “ what’s there to lose”. The unproven therapies not only are not effective but also pose a real threat to the person. Complications might result which cause long and short-term health difficulties. The expenses might be enormous and trying unproven treatment may make you unsuitable for future clinical experimentation.
- Different Stem Cells have Different Functions:
The stem cells come from different areas around the body and hence have different functions. Without scientific meddling, each stem cell produces the cells that belong to a particular area of the body. So, it’s highly unlikely that a single type of stem cell will ever be able to treat diverse body diseases.
- Science Behind The Disease Should Match The Science Behind Treatment:
The more research is there about aetiology, symptoms, signs, transmission, and pathogenesis of a disease the better armed you are for finding an appropriate drug. Hence, the treatment science is based on the science of disease. For example, if a patient presents with immune system problems, a bone marrow transplant makes sense. The same bone marrow transplant does not make sense in neurological diseases.
- Your Own Body Cells Might Be Dangerous If Used As Treatment:
Autologous implants are generally safe but the way cells are separated from your body and then treated externally to be converted into a therapeutic form might add some risk factors. The cells might get contaminated with bacteria or viruses, the manipulation through science might change normal cell functioning, and injecting body cells into places where they didn’t originally belong also poses danger.