Stem Cell Treatment – The Panacea
Stem cell treatment for various diseases and ailments is expanding and preserving stem cells of individuals at the birth itself has seen a rise. The stem cells of the umbilical cord is seen as a great source and preserving them is the first step for future healthcare requirement of that individual.
Stem cells are biological cells found in all multi-cellular organisms. These cells divide themselves and differentiate into specialized cells types and further can produce more stem cells and also self-renew. The stem cells can be classified into two main categories; they are Embryonic Stem Cells and Adult Stem Cells.
Embryonic Stem Cells:
Embryonic stem cells are those cells which are isolated from the inner cell mass of blastocysts. Blastocyst is a structure found in mammals and is formed in the early embryogenesis. These consists of inner cell mass called embryoblast, which later on forms the embryo. The outer layer of cells called trophoblast forms the placenta. The trophoblast surrounds the inner cell mass and a fluid-filled blastocyst cavity known as the blastocoele or the blastocystic cavity. The human blastocyst comprises 70-100 embryonic stem cells which are isolated from the inner cell mass of blastocysts.
Adult Stem Cells:
Adult stem cells are found in various tissues of the body. In the adult body, stem cells and progenitor cells (a progenitor cell is a biological cell that, like a stem cell, has a tendency to differentiate into a specific type of cell, but is already more specific than a stem cell and is pushed to differentiate into its “target” cell) act as a repair system for the body, replenishing adult tissues. In a developing embryo, stem cells can differentiate into all the specialized cells, but also maintain the normal turnover of regenerative organs, such as blood, skin, or intestinal tissues.
Stem cells preserved can later be used for cell culture (to grow or multiply) through artificial cell culture and transformed into specialized cell types with characteristics consistent with cells of various tissues such as muscles or nerves through cell culture. Stem cells can be sourced from various parts of the body of the individual. The most prominent sources are the umbilical cord, blood and bone marrow. The three sources of adult stem cells are bone marrow, adipose tissue and blood. Stem cells from bone marrow are collected by drilling into the bone, usually the femur (thigh bone) or iliac crest. Stem cells are extracted from adipose tissue by way of liposuction. Stem cells from blood require extraction through pheresis, wherein blood is drawn from the donor and passed through a machine that extracts the stem cells and returns other portions of the blood to the donor.
The best of stem cells are of one’s own. Stem cell which are autologous (i.e. one’s own stem cells) harvested involves very least risk. It is one of the primary reasons for preserving stem cells from umbilical cord just as one may bank his or her own blood for elective surgical procedures.
Potential uses of Stem Cell in treatment:
Traumatic brain injury
Bone marrow transplantation
Spinal cord injury
Various types of cancer
Crohn’s disease and many more diseases.
The possibilities of healthcare with stem cell therapy and treatment seems to be expanding with the medical fraternity and researchers. Although, the acceptability is yet to gain proportions but it sure is becoming more popular in many countries across the globe. And there are few stem cell labs set up to preserve and grow them whenever required. It may soon be the most popular treatment option for many diseases for the coming generation.