In 2018, 9.5 million people died from cancer, and by 2040 that number is expected to rise to 16.4 million people. Almost every family has been touched by cancer, and scientists are doing all they can to find a cure.

In recent years, there has been advancement in the field of regenerative medicine using stem cells. Stem cells can be used to repair and replace damaged tissue. Stem cells are the most promising step forward in the treatment of cancer, as well as other destructive diseases. Diseases such as Parkinsons give many people extreme pain and suffering, and stem cells can reduce and even remove this pain.

In the medicinal drugs field, one wrong ingredient can potentially have devastating consequences. Thus, testing these drugs on something other than a living human is essential to ensure the safety of the drug. Stem cells are an alternative, as they are derived from human cells. The cells can accurately show what the drugs will do inside the body. For example, when testing how a drug affects a nerve, a scientist can induce a stem cell to become a nerve cell, thus giving that scientist the ability to see how the drug affects that type of cell. Stem cells give this area of medicine a versatile weapon to fight against disease.

Drugs have been used in an attempt to treat heart disease and other degenerative diseases, but stem cells offer an innovative form of treatment for these diseases. Stem cells can go into a damaged portion of tissue to repair and replace the tissue. In a study published in The Lancet medical journal, researchers attempted to treat damaged hearts by the infusion of stem cells. They injected each patient with stem cells from his or her heart and, after a year, the scar tissue had shrunk by 50%. Harvard Health explained this phenomenon in an article: Once in place, stem cells help regenerate damaged heart tissue.

Likewise, stem cells also can treat Parkinson's disease by helping the brain repair itself by generating new brain cells. The promise stem cells give the area of regenerative medicine is great and should not be thrown out. It could be the next great medical advancement and have massive potential to heal degenerative diseases.

The deadliest disease is cancer. While some treatments like chemotherapy can prolong life and, in some cases, defeat cancer, for far too many people that is not the outcome. Stem cells are being used to help fight certain types of cancer like leukemia, lymphoma, neuroblastoma and multiple myeloma, and have potential to treat other forms.

The process to treat these cancers is called a stem cell transplant or a bone marrow transplant. The procedure takes cancerous and destroyed cells and replaces them with healthy stem cells. Stem cells are also used to replace damaged tissue from chemotherapy. When a person gets chemotherapy the radiation helps kill the cancer but also kills some healthy cells. Stem cells can replace these damaged cells.

Despite these many promising uses for stem cell research, a negative stigma surrounds the research because people think that it uses aborted fetuses to acquire the stem cells. However, stem cells come from a laboratory and have not been implanted inside of a womb. This type of stem cell is called an embryonic stem cell and comes from 4- to 5-day-old blastocysts, the most versatile and promising stem cell. They can become any other type of cell and do not have a risk of being rejected.

Adult stem cells, however, can be rejected by the immune system. Adult stem cells also are less flexible, not being able to change as easily as an embryonic stem cell. Embryonic stem cells come from unused embryos from an in vitro fertilization clinic. These stem cells will either be thrown away or put in a freezer and most likely never used, so the owners of these embryos donate them to be used for stem cells. The donors must give consent before the cells are used for science, keeping the research ethical.

There are many benefits that come from stem cell research. The medical power of stem cells should not be ignored and cast aside.

Cole Ployd is in the 11th grade at Dayspring Christian Academy.

Success! An email has been sent with a link to confirm list signup.

Error! There was an error processing your request.

Here is the original post:

Assessing the benefits of stem cell research (column) - LNP | LancasterOnline

Related Post

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *