Stem cell therapy is the application of genetically engineered stem cell technology to treat or prevent an disease. Currently, embryonic stem cell transplantation is the only treatment for stem cells that are genetically engineered. This is usually done via an umbilical cord blood transplant, but stem cells can be derived from umbilical cord plasma. There are a variety of concerns regarding stem cell treatments. It is recommended to consult with a professional genealogist prior to considering any kind of stem cell treatment. While some concern has been raised about the ethical implications of embryonic stem cells, studies show that these procedures are not risky and many children have had success in treating their genetic disorders with stem cells.
Scientists have discovered that some patients can be treated with stem cells and chemotherapy simultaneously. The patient’s capability and willingness to bear the pressure of ongoing treatment is the key to the success of this transplant. Researchers have been able to treat some patients with one transplant. Then, they gave the patient one dose of chemotherapy. Researchers have discovered that chemotherapy drugs are affected by a person’s tolerance to stress. Researchers are currently testing new chemotherapy drugs for use in combination.
Scientists are still working on stem cell transplants. They are also looking into other methods to utilize human blood that has been genetically engineered to treat chronic diseases such as multiple sclerosis and leukemia. Stem cells are living tissues that have been re-engineered to repair and replace damaged areas of the body. The use of donor skin or bone marrow as a source of stem cells can provide a greater supply of stem cells to the area of the body that needs it.
In addition to using stem cell transplants, researchers are testing other treatments using specialized, specially bred cells. One group is studying the effects of radiation doses that are high on pregnant mice. The mice were not exposed to radiation at all; they were put under very high levels of radiation. The mice survived, but only for a brief period of time. The mice may need several months of treatment to recover as these special cells aren’t well absorbed by the body.
Scientists are also studying the effectiveness of immune system boosters that combine stem cell treatments with immune system enhancements. One of the most common forms of immune system boosters is a substance known as interferon. Interferon is used to treat different types of cancer, including cancers of the lymphatic system and blood. Researchers believe that increasing the immune system can be successful in reducing negative effects of some stem cell therapies.
Scientists are also studying the effect of diet in slowing the process of aging. They are looking at diets that include ingredients that promote the creation of healthy cells. They include antioxidants. These substances repair the damage to tissues after they are produced by the body. Researchers are currently studying phytosterols and lecithin and lipoic acid.
Scientists are still not capable of fully understanding the effects of stem cell transplants. They know that the amount of transplants performed is much less than what is needed to treat a heart disease. Researchers can see the overall positive effects for patients if they can create an individualized diet, exercise and transplant that result in a younger, healthier heart. Stem cell transplants remain a strong treatment option as it can give patients the chance to live afresh.
Other researchers are also studying methods that are less dramatic, but similar to therapeutic cloning. In this case, there is no direct human contact between the donor and recipient. Cloning is performed using DNA from other individuals and the nucleus from these cells are placed into the egg of the host. If successful, this technique could allow researchers to generate the cells required to provide an alternative source of fuel for the immune system.
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