Stem Cell Therapy: The Past, Present, and Future of Medicine

stem cells

Stem Cell Therapy: The Past, Present, and Future of Medicine

The medical field is constantly changing. A sundry of scientists throughout the world are studying countless methods and medicines in order to help people live longer, more vivacious lives. One of the keys to modern healthcare is in stem cell therapy. The techniques studied have already been applied to an abundance of real-life scenarios, saving lives in the process. As new ideas are formulated, we can expect to see some amazing medical advancements.

The Past

The most used and well-known procedure for stem cell therapy is the bone marrow transplant. Throughout the 50s and 60s, the procedure was successfully completed between twins, and then immediate family members, to treat leukemia and a range of other illnesses that benefit from such therapy. It wasn’t until 1973 that the first non-relative bone marrow transplant took place. Now, people around the world benefit from these treatments each day.

 

The Present

As stem cell research continues to be prosperous, so do the people that benefit from the treatments it produces. Stem cell therapies continue to help treat certain types of cancer, and they also help slow the progression of degenerative disorders, or reverse the damage caused by such conditions. It’s even been shown to be a beneficial tool when treating paralysis – giving many patients hopes for movement they only dreamed of in the past. It seems like every moment leads to a new breakthrough in the benefits of stem cell therapy.

For instance, currently, researchers are studying the potential use of stem cell therapy to reduce the symptoms of autism. In the first study, performed by Duke University, scientists found treatment led to an improvement in behavior. More research is needed, but the results are promising.

Stem cell procedures have firmly planted their feet as a go-to for pain relief from a variety of conditions, including arthritis, meniscal tears, back pain, and more.

As mentioned above, there have been recent exciting developments in the treatment of paralysis using stem cell therapy. Just last year, a young man who became paralyzed due to a car accident was the first to receive a specialized type of stem cell treatment. Within three months, the patient’s motor functioning had greatly improved, giving him greater independence, and giving many others hope.

 

The Future

As current trials make a difference for participants, in hopes that someday they’ll be the status quo treatment for so many debilitating disorders, there are also many uses in the early exploration phases.

Diabetes is one of the fastest growing health concerns facing the nation today, so it should come as no surprise that scientists are diligently studying the potential use of stem cells to treat the condition. Last year, Japanese scientists used mice to explore stem cell-grown pancreas transplants to get to the source of the problem.

Lab grown organs are a hot topic, providing hope to many who suffer from chronic conditions that left them with little choices for treatment in the past.

There’s a possibility for a cure of anything and everything with the continued study of stem cell therapies.

 

References

Aldrich, Meg. USC Stem Cell. Paralyzed man regains use of arms and hands after experimental stem cell therapy at Keck Hospital of USC [World Wide Web site]. Los Angeles, California. Eli and Edythe Broad CIRM Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at USC, September 7, 2016 [cited April 21, 2017]. Available at https://stemcell.usc.edu/2016/09/07/paralyzed-man-regains-use-of-arms-and-hands-after-experimental-stem-cell-therapy-at-keck-hospital-of-usc/.

 

Davlantis, K., Dawson, G., Durham, R., Franz, L., Kurtzberg, J., Sebatos-DeVito, M., Murias, Simmons, R., M., Sun, J., Troy, J. Autologous Cord Blood Infusions Are Safe and Feasible in Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Results of a Single-Center Phase I Open-Label Trial. Stem Cells Journals, April 5, 2017 [cited April 21, 2017]. Available at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/sctm.16-0474/full.

 

Goto, T., Hara, H., Hideki, M., Hirabayashi, M., Kato-Itoh, M., Kobayashi, T., Mizuno, N., Nakauchi, H., Ota, Y., Rashid, S.T., Sanbo, M., Sato, H., Umino, A., Yamaguchi, T., Yanagida, A. Interspecies organogenesis generates autologous functional islets. Nature, January 25, 2017 [cited April 21, 2017]. Available at http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v542/n7640/full/nature21070.html.

 

Thomas, Donnall E. (1990). Bone Marrow Transplantation – Past, Present and Future [Nobel Lecture]. Retrieved from The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington, Seattle: https://www.fredhutch.org/content/dam/public/Treatment-Suport/Long-Term-Follow-Up/thomas-nobel-lecture.pdf.

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