A Patient Introduction To Stem CellsFriday, Jun 28, 2019
In the medical field, Regenerative Medicine is newer and has a single goal in mind: to repair and restore normal function to damaged organs and tissues. Much like the human body, regenerative medicine leverages new stem cells to take the place of damaged tissue and cells. This means that stem cells act as one of the most powerful tools in treating spinal cord injury and disease. The cells go beyond what is considered a conventional method of repair to regenerate injury and disease-related damage to tissues, by returning your organs and tissues to an improved state of health.
Explain More To Me About Stem Cells
In the human body, stem cells exist in many different areas and are formed throughout your lifetime. Each type of stem cell can renew on its own and develop more specialized cells. Beyond these two key abilities, though, stem cells vary widely in what they can do in the body. This means it is necessary to classify each type of stem cell by its:
- Place of origin in the body
- Potential to transform into other types of cells
There are some stem cells that can transform themselves into any type of cell. Other stem cells are capable of mimicking fewer types of cells, while some stem cells can only transform into a few or even a single cell type.
Please Explain How Stem Cells Can Help Me Heal
The stem cells found in your body, as was explained above, have the ability to recognize and transform into any cell type, all the way from kidney cells to the cells that encompass the components of the central nervous system. This transformation is referred to as differentiation and it defines the potency of the stem cell. Only a select few stem cells have been identified as carrying the ability to differentiate into the most cell types. Their locations include:
- Fat tissue
- Bone marrow
- Heart cells
- Cord blood.
Each has been shown to successfully treat diseases and to hold additional therapeutic effects, including:
- A decrease in the number of surface cell receptors in the immune processes and inflammation
- Suppression of cell death
- Activation of existing stem cells
- Development of new blood vessels
- Promote the development of new nervous tissue
- Inhibit oxidation
- Preservation of the neuronal function and structure.
In a typical situation involving damage caused by trauma, additional damage is caused by inflammation and the immune response. The injured cells kill themselves rather than opting to repair the damage. This cell death increases the amount of damaged tissue, but the repair process is quite slow without stem cell introduction. In such instances, stem cells leveraged intraoperatively have been shown to be effective in promoting repair and limiting additional damage.
Regenerative medicine is expected to fundamentally change the way surgical and non-surgical procedures are approached for patients with spinal cord injuries. Their utilization provides us with exciting opportunities for research and improving quality of life for patients.