Stem cells are remarkable, in that they have the unique ability to develop into different types of cells. They can also function as a repair system by dividing and replenishing other cells as long as the person or animal is alive. When a stem cell divides, it can turn into another kind of cell, such as a red blood cell or a brain cell. This has great potential, which is why so much of research is being done into this. Success in research can lead to treating illnesses and diseases that were once untreatable, thus saving lives. Here are some interesting stem cell facts that you really need to know.
1. Unique Properties
Unlike other cells, stem cells display some unique properties. Initially, they are unspecialized cells that can renew itself, even after being inactive for a while, by a process called cell division. The other amazing thing about them is that under certain conditions, they can be coaxed into becoming tissue cells or organ-specific cells. These unique properties hold such great potential and can one day be used to save countless lives and heal the sick. Nerve, blood and muscle cells don’t normally replicate themselves. Stem cells are capable of doing this and can yield millions and millions of cells.
2. It Can Save Lives
Stem cells can help to promote recovery and heal the body, so the therapeutic potential is enormous. It can also help to regenerate damaged tissue and improve function after an illness or injury. Because they can help in forming different kinds of specialized tissue, it can help to save lives.
3. Over A Million Stem Cell Transplants
Since the first stem cell transplant, there have been over a million stem cell transplants. This shows that stem cell transplants can play a vital role in treating critical diseases, including blood cancers. It is an ever-evolving therapy that can bring much needed hope to patients as well as their families. This is because it can help to promote the body’s natural ability in trying to heal itself. This gives hope for those who face conditions with no cure.
4. Evidence Of More Stem Cells
Research is producing some startling results that suggest the possibility of finding more stem cells in other locations. It’s understood that stem cells can be found in cord blood when a baby is born, and these are probably the best ones to use that will likely give the best results. It’s also known that the marrow is another location of precious stem cells. However, research into adult stem cells is showing evidence of stem cells in tissues that were thought not to be possible. This now raises the interesting possibility of using adult stem cells from other locations for transplantation. There is evidence to suggest that stem cells can be found in the brain and in the heart, which nobody could have expected. Due to the location of these, safe methods of extraction need to be found. Adult stem cells are also found in several other areas of the body, so hopefully, more research can lead to saving lives.
Stem cell research can help to potentially treat conditions like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, heart diseases, spinal cord injuries, certain cancers and repair damaged organs. Imagine, if one day, a person who needed a heart transplant may potentially get a copy of their OWN heart in a heart transplant surgery!