Ever since we realized the value of organ transplantation in replacing irreversibly damaged human organs, there has been a constant research for a tissue that can provide an everlasting solution. Embryonic stem cell transplantation has made this dream come true.
However, since we are still unable to perfectly regulate stem cell differentiation into different lineages and grow stem cells in clinically meaningful quantities, clinical applications are still in infancy.
Embryonic stem cells are cells with the ability to divide for indefinite periods in culture and gives rise to specialized cells like blood cells, nerve cells which gradually loose the ability to proliferate. Adult stem cells on the other hand can proliferate into one tissue form only and have a limited capacity to multiply and have the ability to repair some but not all tissues.
As of today, we do not have any human trial with embryonic stem cells. .Hematopoietic stem cell transplant is the only approved modality of treatment in blood disorders and a handful of other conditions. All other research in the use of stem cells in cardiology or neurology have utilized autologous bone marrow stem cell i.e. stem cell from the person’s own blood.
The applications of stem cells are many-
To detect fundamental errors that cause diseases like cancer
To study the efficacy and safety of new drugs
To treat a myriad of diseases like Parkonson’s, Alzheimer’s Motor Neuron Disease, spinal card injury, stroke, burns, heart diseases, diabetes, arthritis etc.
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