At SCI, we know that stem cell treatments have the potential to change the world. As a company focused on bringing these possibilities to light, we work to ensure that our audience understands and supports such possibilities. But people can only do that when they have all of the information they need. As leaders in the blockchain-based stem cell therapy industry, it is our job to provide such information to people and help to facilitate the conversations being had about the future and potential of stem cell treatments.
We’ve put together a beginner’s guide to stem cell transplants so that you can better understand the world in which we work and contribute to on a global scale. Because stem cell treatments are not available everywhere, and because people don’t always know the proper information about how stem cells can help, we want to guide that conversation in a way that allows people to ask questions and get their answers. Here’s part one of our beginner’s guide to understanding stem cell treatments.
First, what are stem cells?
It’s likely that you’ve heard of stem cells before, but you might not be sure what exactly they are and what they do for the body. In a nutshell, stem cells are undifferentiated cells that we all have in our bodies that have the potential to become other cells. To clarify, a blood cell is a blood cell. But a stem cell has the potential to transform into another type of cell if needed. A cell in the eye is a cell in the eye, but a stem cell can become a potentially vision-saving cell in the eye if needed. So basically, stem cells are used to treat and repair other cells in the body.
How many types of stem cells are there?
While stem cells can essentially become any other type of cell, there are actually different types of stem cells within the body. To date, scientists have found that stem cells can take on up to 200 different cell forms in the body for treatment and therapeutic purposes. There are two different types of native stem cells in our bodies: adult stem cells and pluripotent.
What’s the difference between adult stem cells and pluripotent stem cells?
Pluripotent stem cells have the ability to become any other cell in the body. This is the type of stem cell that most people think of when they hear the phrase “stem cells.” This order of stem cells includes embryonic stem cells. Embryonic stem cells are developed as a fetus grows. The second type of Pluripotent stem cell is known as Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells: these are adult stem cells that have been reprogrammed by scientists and doctors to function and act like embryonic stem cells. This means that even if a patient didn’t have stem cells collected at the time of birth, stem cell therapists can recreate those cells in a lab and benefit from their pliable nature in the treatment of many conditions.
Adult stem cells then, are the ones that you have developed after you are born and begin growing. However, as we grow, the adult stem cells lose their flexibility to become other cells in the body, making it more difficult to repair and replace cells in the adult body. Adult stem cells take many forms but are generally limited in the area of the body they serve. For example, blood stem cells function only in the bloodstream. Scientists are working to create more opportunities for adult stem cells to be used throughout the body as needed.
What are some examples of how stem cells are used in today’s health care industry?
To date, stem cells have been used in a variety of ways, but much of the work being done is still in its research stage. That means that patients don’t have access to much of the advancements being made in medical labs around the world…yet.
Stem cell therapies are currently being used for the treatment of certain heart conditions, neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s Disease, certain cancers through bone marrow transplants, and Diabetes. What’s more, stem cells are being used to reduce pain and inflammation in patients with Arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, and even patients who suffer from chronic pain due to injuries.
The problem remains, however, access. Patients can’t access the stem cell treatments they need around the world. And doctors hesitate to recommend treatments because some treatments remain controversial in the media and amongst groups who don’t have all the information.
To learn more about how SCI is working to improve access, treatment options, and stem cell research around the world, visit www.scia.io