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Regenerative Institute

Stem Cell Therapy Q & A

Stem cells have the ability to change into other cell types, and may also divide using self-renewal to create more cells which are similar. Within mammals, these cells can be broken down into two categories, which are embryonic and adult. Embryonic cells will be isolated from the internal blastocyst cell mass during embryonic growth, whereas adult cells will be found in the tissues of mature mammals.


What is Stem Cell Therapy?

Stem cell therapy involves using stem cells to prevent or treat disease. The most famous example is bone marrow transplants, but there are other operations which require the blood of the umbilical cord. Researchers are developing new ways to find other stem cell sources, so that they can be applied to neurodegenerative conditions as well as ailments such as heart disease and diabetes.


The earliest stem cell treatment involves bone marrow, which has been around for more than thirty years. It has been administered to patients who were suffering from conditions such as lymphoma or leukemia, and is still the most widely practiced operation today. The problem with traditional chemotherapy is that the majority of growing cells will be eradicated due to the presence of cytotoxic agents, since the agents cannot tell the difference between neoplastic cells, leukemia cells, and hematopoietic stem cells inside the patient’s bone marrow. The goal of stem cell therapy is to overcome this problem, since the bone marrow of the healthy donor will reintroduce stem cells that are functional so that they can replace cells which were lost in the body of the host during treatment.


Benefits Of Stem Cell Therapy

This therapy has many benefits. In 2004 researchers working in King’s College London demonstrated a method of regenerating teeth in mice. The teeth were grown standalone within a laboratory, and it is believed that the feat can also be accomplished in humans, which would revolutionize the dental industry.


Scientists have also been able to use stem cells to regenerate the cells of cochlea hair, which plays an essential role in hearing. Continued developments in this area may eventually be able to cure patients who are deaf. In 2003, scientists were also able to transplant corneal cells into eyes that had been damaged, resulting in restored vision. Researchers working in Queen Victoria Hospital in 2005 used stem cells to give sight to forty patients. Stem Cells have also shown great promise in the healing of wounds, including scar tissue.


How Stem Cell Therapy Works

Stem cell therapy requires lots of quality cells. Therefore, culture systems must be created to produce populations which are pure and geared towards specific tissues. There are two methods, which are three dimensional cellular culture and two dimensional cellular culture. The patient’s cells (or those of a donor), are used to repair tissue that has been damaged. This is usually accomplished through injection. The cells will either be taken from bone marrow or tissue within the abdomen.