Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Major Benefits of Stem Cell Research

If you have heard about the stem cell research, then you might be familiar with its surrounding controversies also. Stem cells, also known as the master cells have a remarkable potential to treat many life-threatening conditions. Currently, these cells are used for various transplants and medical applications. Moreover, several clinical trials and research works are underway exploring its potential to treat even more debilitating conditions in future. Applications and benefits of stem cell research are many.

Transplants are one of the major applications of stem cell research. Master cells with renewal properties can restore the function of a damaged or dysfunctional cell. However, harvesting the master cells is not an easy task. Until recently, stem cells were collected from bone marrow for the transplants. But the discovery of cell presence in the newborn baby cord blood was a major milestone. Blood left in the placenta and umbilical cord after the child birth contains enormous number of stem cells. Both cord blood and umbilical cord tissue are harvested and stored for treatments and research purpose. Cord blood contains hematopoieticstem cells (HSCs), whereas umbilical cord tissue contains mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). Currently newborn baby cord blood is used for treating more than eighty diseases which includes but are not limited to leukaemia, inherited blood disorders and inherited metabolic disorders. 

Stem cells have the unique ability to differentiate into specialised cell types and can keep on renewing themselves. Such properties can be exploited to treat a wide range of diseases. Regenerative medicine research and studies focus on exploiting the potential of stem cells to reverse diseases. According to the scientists, stem cells can act as an ultimate body repair kit and holds the promise of strengthening body’s natural healing abilities. Some of the promising applications of cord blood banking include the treatment of spinal cord injuries, cardio vascular diseases, Parkinson’s disease, type I diabetes, genetic defects and burn victims. 

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