Benefits of Stem Cells
Benefits of stem cells whose distinct features include self-renewal capacity and differentiation comprise the next couple of paragraphs. Stem cell research, a channel through which the stem cell benefits are revealed has carved a niche for itself in the 21st century. What exactly is stem cell research then? Stem cell research is aimed at the potential of stem cells to develop into different types of cells in a human body through the process of differentiation.
The controversy surrounding embryonic stem cells (cells derived from human embryos) has forced scientists to conduct experimental research on artificially derived Induced Pluripotent Stem cells. Pluripotent stem cells have the ability to grow into a variety of cells, ranging from kidney cells to liver cells.
Benefits of stem cells include:
- Tissue and Organ donation made easier – The damaged cells in several organs can be replaced with the stem cells, thus decreasing the mortality by reducing the waiting time for people in need of a transplant. For example: A heart attack victim’s damaged tissue can be replaced with healthy muscle cells. Similarly, brain cells destroyed in Parkinson’s disease victim can be replaced with new cells.
- A sigh of relief for burn victims – In case of burn victims, a small piece of skin tissue taken and grown in the lab progressively can serve to regenerate the entire burnt area.
- Stem Cells as “Guinea Pigs” to test new drugs – Pharmaceutical field can now take complete advantage of stem cells to test new drugs on these cells, initially, instead of testing them on animals and humans. For example: To test a new anti-cancer drug, a cancer cell line can be created and the drug can be given a “ready to use” tag only after these cells lines respond as expected.
- Detailed study of human development – Human developmental stages can be observed and studied in a detailed manner, which is definitely possible to do on a human embryo. These studies can in turn help in deciphering the birth defects, loss of pregnancy etc.
- Reversal of Ageing – Stem cell research conducted on this particular aspect of ageing has already come up with treatments that play a role in slowing the process of ageing. Further experiments can reverse the process of ageing altogether.
- No fear of “Rejection” – The word “Rejection” has a great significance during stem cell treatment. A patient’s own adult stem cells can be used to treat the disease, thereby reducing the chances of rejection from his/her own cells.
Let’s all hope that this list of “Benefits of stem cells” will continue indefinitely and more individuals will have the advantage of ‘Optimum Utility’ of this “Skill Set” of stem cells.