We are over 3 decades into stem cell research in medicine. Stem cell treatments, historically, have been proven to be an effective regenerative therapy for macular degeneration, a degenerative condition of the eye that eventually results in blindness. The benefits of stem cells in bone marrow transplants are also universally accepted. Medical researchers and professionals everywhere are highly invested in the medicinal potential of stem cell therapy, as its healing mechanisms have promising implications for an array of diseases and injuries.
However, until recently, ethics behind stem cell sourcing have been misunderstood, so research was somewhat limited. However, as stem cell injections have continued to prove an effective treatment for knees, lower back pain, torn tendons, and cancer complications, research is opening up, with clinical studies proliferating.
Slowing the Progression of Alzheimer’s Disease
In a recent rat study, stem cells were differentiated into neuronal progenitors, meaning that once they were applied, they proliferated as neuronal cells. When applied to rats with Alzheimer’s, stem cells decreased the plaque deposits that cause the disease to progress, and treated rats performed better at cognitive tests.
Helping Kidney Transplant Patients
Nearing the conclusion of its first clinical study in humans, infusing stem cells and immune cells from the organ donor into the organ recipient’s system might prove to be an effective alternative for immunosuppressive drugs.
Reversing Type I Diabetes
When embryonic stem cells are differentiated into pancreatic progenitor cells and injected into the pancreas, a study currently in phase 2, stem cell therapy is demonstrating the potential to create new, insulin-producing cells in patients with Diabetes I.
Mitigating Thoracic Spinal Cord Damage
A clinical study currently in progress injected progenitor stem cells above and below the site of injury in patients with catastrophic spinal cord damage. Patients reported no ill effects to their health, and post-treatment tests showed an increase in sensory experience and electrophysiological responses that progressed over time.
Stem Cell Therapies Turn Treatment into Restoration
As a regenerative medical treatment, doctors and researchers in stem cell therapy aim to change how serious illness and injury are treated by switching from a mitigative point of view to a restorative one. Without the complications and toxicity that come with invasive procedures and pharmaceuticals, stem cell treatments are objectively safer and less traumatic to an already-traumatized body. And with the ethical sourcing and the ability to control differentiation in the lab, stem cell injections have boundless potential; they just need thoroughly explored.