Research Schools

Understanding How Stem Cell Therapy Works


Stem cell therapy is a promising new treatment that helps to cure various diseases and injuries. These cells consist of your body’s raw materials that perform special functions. When you keep stem cells under specific temperatures in a laboratory, they can form more cells. These are better known as daughter cells. But how does all this fit into the treatment perspective? Here are a few reasons why doctors are paying so much attention to this type of treatment.


i. Better understanding of a disease

Stem cells mature into heart muscles, bones, nerves, and various other tissues. This helps doctors and researchers to understand how different diseases and health conditions develop.


ii. Replaces diseased cells

This is one of the reasons why stem cell therapy has become highly popular. Experts can guide stem cells into performing specific functions so that they can regenerate and grow fresh cells that in turn replace the damaged or diseased cells in your body. Patients with type 1 diabetes, spinal cord injuries, Alzheimer’s, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Parkinson’s, stroke, cancer, osteoarthritis, and heart diseases can benefit from this treatment. Stem cells can grow and become new tissues that help to cure various health conditions efficiently.


iii. Experimenting new drugs

Most researchers now experiment new drugs on stem cells instead of harming animals. Moreover, testing these drugs on human cells help to understand their efficiency. The experts program the cells to function as if they have a specific disease, and then they use the drugs to see if they work.


How does this therapy work?

Many people also call this therapy regenerative medicine. It is responsible for promoting the repair response of your diseased and dysfunctional stem cells and their derivatives. You may have heard about organ transplantation where a donor donates his/her organs so that the patient can survive. The common organ transplantations that you may come across are kidney transplant, liver transplant, cornea transplant, and various other organs.

However, when it comes to stem cell therapy, you may not need a donor. The doctor will take fresh cells from unaffected areas, keep them in a laboratory, manipulate and monitor their growth, and when they multiply into millions, they will replace them with the dysfunctional cells. Manipulating the functions of the fresh cells is crucial. They can become blood cells, nerve cells, or even heart muscle cells depending on the issue of the patient. Of course, the researcher needs to monitor and tweak their functioning to obtain the desired results.

Over the years, researchers have guided adult bone marrow cells into heart-like cells that can help to solve heart-related problems. They are still researching on this treatment so that it helps to replace cancer cells. That will be a massive achievement. It could lead to treating cancer once and for all. Millions die every year due to cancer, and if the doctors and researchers succeed in applying stem cell therapy, it can well become the cure for this life-threatening disease.


Is it useful?

Many people still believe that stem cell therapy is not a full-proof solution to cure specific diseases. Well, have you heard about bone marrow transplantation? What type of treatment do you think the doctors follow during this procedure? It is one of the significant success stories of stem cell therapies! Replacing bone marrow is no joke. A person without bone marrow is similar to a half-dead guy. But, doctors have successfully used stem cell therapy (bone marrow transplantation) to bring the patient back to life.

Apart from bone marrow transplantation, stem cells can also replace tissues, nerves, and cells destroyed during chemotherapy. Of course, it doesn’t mean stem cell therapy can outright cure cancer, but it still offers a route for patients to lead a normal life again. In fact, stem cell therapy is helpful for various blood-related issues, such as lymphoma, multiple myeloma, neuroblastoma, and leukemia. Doctors use the blood from the umbilical cord or adult stem cells to cure these diseases.

The objective of this treatment is to replace degenerative tissues and cells with fresh cells so that they can cure the existing disease. Researchers are trying to direct stem cells into becoming specific cells that will function according to the cells that work in a particular pattern. For example, the doctors may try to manipulate the function of skin cells and convert them into brain cells. So, even if these cells do not necessarily fit the brain structure, they will still function as if they are identical cells from your brain.

The only drawback that you can say about stem cell therapy is its overall cost. It is expensive. That is why a bone marrow transplant can cost you a fortune. Apart from that, it is one of the most advanced and highly successful treatments you will ever come across.