Stem Cells: The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread
Many are not sure how to distinguish the hype surrounding stem cells from legitimate possibilities of the technology.
Stem cells are now being used in clinical cell therapy to help patients with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) to walk, and once chemotherapy destroys a cancer patient’s immune system, stem cells are used to build it up. Stem cells used in these procedures are harvested from the patient’s blood in the days leading up to the procedure. Procedures for Alzheimer’s and Autism are currently in the works.
The human body uses stem cells throughout our lives to repair or replace damaged tissues and to renew normal cells such as the skin. The greatest hope of stem cell research is that humans may one day age more gracefully, live longer, and even reproduce more successfully.
Widespread & Ambitious Research
Recently, scientists identified molecular signals that stimulate the growth of stem cells when an embryo is developing. There are thousands of studies of stem cells being conducted worldwide, with many of them on animals and insects such as the Drosophila, as researchers seek the underlying mechanisms of germline stem cells. There is also a significant amount of work on cancer and the identification of Circulating Tumor Cells (CTCs) and Cancer Stem Cells (CSCs).
Are Stem Cells a Magic Bullet for Chronic Diseases?
Researchers are not only seeking cures for cancer but other chronic conditions as well, such as paralysis, Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS), depression, blindness, and many more. According to doctors Mark Berman and Elliot Lander, authors of “The Stem Cell Revolution,” evidence is building that stem cells are safe and effective in treating a large number of human maladies.
Following is a YouTube playlist of 6 UCSF Stem Cell videos: