News ID: 216517
Published: 0807 GMT June 11, 2018

Therapy at forefront of modern medicine

Therapy at forefront of modern medicine

Thanks to their incredible versatility, they are used in medicine to treat, or try to prevent, a host of diseases and conditions.

Stem cells are mainly found in bone marrow, fatty cells and in the blood, reported.

A baby’s umbilical cord just after birth is also a rich source — and one of the biggest uses is in the treatment of cancers like leukemia and lymphoma.

This involves taking healthy cells from the blood or bone marrow of a matching donor — ideally a close family member — and transferring them to the patient.

Stem cells can also be taken from a patient’s own body and then transplanted back in later in a process called an autologous transplant.

One significant risk of an allogeneic transplant — where the cells are from a donor — is that the implanted cells can attack the patient’s own cells.

Researchers are also looking into how stem cell treatments could help patients suffering a vast number of other conditions including neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s and health issues such as diabetes, cardiovascular problems and multiple sclerosis.

Eventually it is thought stem cells could be used to help grow new teeth — in a fashion similar to when a baby starts growing them — as well as helping cure baldness by growing new hair cells and restoring vision in the blind by transplanting corneal stem cells.

Better wound healing, treating infertility and combating arthritis are also being investigated as possible applications.

Work is also under way to combine gene therapy with stem cell therapy to try to tackle inherited diseases such as cystic fibrosis.


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