Stem Cells And How They Are Used To Treat Disease

Stem cell-based treatments are used to treat a variety of diseases. Stem cells are cells that are undifferentiated but are able to produce differentiated cells. 

Here is a bit of information about stem cells and how they may be used to treat disease.  

Where Are Stem Cells Found?

Although the cells are produced by embryos, they are also present in adults. Adult stem cells are found in various areas throughout the body, such as the blood, brain, bone marrow, and liver. However, in an adult, they are generally dormant or non-dividing until they become activated by an injury or illness.

How Are Stem Cells Used To Treat Illnesses?

Stem cells are often used in transplants to help treat disease. During a transplant, the stem cells are specialized or differentiated into the type of adult cell needed to treat the disorder. The mature specialized cells are implanted to replace the tissue that has been harmed by trauma or disease. 

Here a few specific instances in which stem cell transplants may be helpful:

  • Blood disorders. Blood stem cells, which are called hematopoietic stem cells, can produce the cells that make up the blood and immune system. These stem cells can actually be provided by another adult donor to replace the damaged cells of a person, leading to a new, undiseased blood system. Bone marrow transplants are widely used stem cell treatments that can help people with cancers and other diseases of the blood and immune system.
  • Diabetes. The pancreas of a person with diabetes may no longer function properly. Stem cells can replace the impaired pancreas cells to produce the insulin that is needed.
  • Cardiovascular disease. During a heart attack, portions of the heart muscle may die. Stem cells can be used to repair the damaged heart or regenerate the vessels of the circulatory system for better functionality.
  • Neurological injuries or disease. Stem cells can replace nerve cells that have been damaged by Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, or spinal injuries. The regeneration of neurons can help ensure that the needed brain cells are present to help muscles move as they should. 

In essence, stem cell therapy can be used to treat practically any portion of the body that has been damaged by a disease or injury. It could one day help provide the organs needed for organ transplants, lessening the high demand for donated organs. 

For more information about adult stem cell treatment services, schedule a consultation with a stem cell treatment specialist in your local area.