In the last few years, there have been massive advances the research and success rate of stem cell therapy and regenerative medicine. These treatments hold a great deal of promise to treat patients in routine clinical practices.
What is Regenerative Medicine?
Regenerative medicine is the process of regrowing or replacing human cells or tissue to reestablish normal functions. Regenerating the damaged tissue or cells is done by stimulating the body’s own natural ability to heal itself. This type of medicine also allows physicians and specialists to grow cells and tissue externally and implant them when a patient’s body is incapable of regrowing its own cells and heal itself.
Stem Cell Therapy
“Stem cell science is rapidly transforming how we think about the future of medicine,” said ISSCR president Douglas Melton. “The field is actively working to address how we facilitate getting potential therapies from the lab bench to clinical application.”
Stem cells have the ability to develop into many different types of cells in the body, which is why stem cell therapy is so beneficial in the role of regenerative medicine. Stem cell therapy serves as a repair system and can hypothetically divide exponentially to regrow other cells as long as the patient is still alive.
Research is constantly underway to determine stem cell’s application and uses in transplants and regenerative medicine.
How are Stem Cell Therapy and Regenerative Medicine Related?
Because regenerative medicine harnesses the body’s ability to heal itself and regrow cells and tissue, there is a direct correlation to the use of stem cells and stem cell therapy. This includes the use of embryonic, adult, and induced pluripotent stem cells. These stem cells may be used in the field of developmental biology to help determine the genes and pathways involved in how cells turn into certain cell types such as liver or muscle cells. Stem cells could also be used to test new drugs in Pharma and determine how effective new drugs are to certain diseases and conditions. Stem cells play a crucial role in Cell-Based Therapy: a therapy that utilizes the understanding of cell development, how they morph into different cell types, and how they are maintained.
Conditions Stem Cell Therapy Can Treat
Stem cell therapy is beneficial to patients with the following injuries or diseases:
- Spinal Cord injuries
- Type 1 diabetes
- Parkinson’s disease
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Heart disease
Understanding stem cell development may lead to one day being able to replace the need for organ donations or reduce the complications that go along with it such as rejection or tissue insufficiency.
Regenerative medicine has entered the world of clinical practice thanks to quickly evolving technology and advancements in the understanding of how cells work in the body. As research continues, the field of regenerative medicine and stem cell therapy will grow and give doctors the ability to treat many conditions and diseases.