Although every human has stem cells to some degree, these are generally thought of as reserve cells and they do deplete with the passing of time.
What highlights their unique qualities is their ability to change structure into different body cells; the process known as differentiation.
Although stem cell therapy is still in its infancy, and was once thought of as irreversible, new evidence arouses much positivity for the future. However, scientists do not know exactly what switches them on and off in the body.
The therapy falls under the heading of “regenerative medicine” resulting in the repair of damaged tissues.
Today three types of stem cells are utilized ` Cord blood cells, marrow and blood; the latter having much success as blood transfusions utilizing ones own blood is highly successful.
The Cord group, that is umbilical cells are the least used, a limitation being that these cells cannot be used by the donor, rather in the case of other needy individuals. If a disease to be treated is caused by a mutation, there is no sense in re-introducing that mutation to the donor. As for a current trend in saving pieces of umbilical cord from which to harvest cells, scientists are wary of this practice as one may not know how to utilize them.
To explore the use of embryonic stem cells, one must be aware of the fact that as the foetus forms, these cells can become any type of cell within the body such as brain cells.
However, with the growth of the embryo, adult stem cells will with time develop.
Adult stem cells are located in various pockets in the body, albeit that they usually specialize in forming selective tissues, they can still mature further. Stem cells in bone marrow form red and white corpuscles and neural stem cells for development of the nervous system.
A number of surgeons believe that the eye being an easily selected organ as against the brain and other more complex organs, reduction of degeneration of the retina poses much success with the use of cell therapy.
There is always hope that the effects of devastating diseases like Alzheimers, Parkinsons and Cerebal palsy may be reversed. Other complaints like burns, scarring and acne could well benefit with blood platelets being injected into the damaged connective tissue.
Until further research fulfills needs, uninformed persons must still be aware that ones own stem cells are not suitable for many complaints and thus the well-known lengthy await for suitable donors. However the future holds much promise as science advances.