Stem Cells: A New Hope for Modern Healthcare - GO.CARE Blog

Stem Cells: A New Hope for Modern Healthcare

Author: Jonathan Pham
Review Date: June 10, 2019 | Last Modified: December 9, 2019
Stem Cells: A New Hope for Modern Healthcare

Have you ever heard of stem cells and their use in anti-aging and medical treatment? For now, stem cell therapy is a new, yet promising medical procedure that can aid in the treatment of various health conditions.

What are Stem cells?

Stem Cell

Know the basics

The human body is made up of a multitude of cells – each comes with a specific role (e.g: heart cells, brain cells, kidney cells, etc.). Among these, stem cells are a special group of cells, as they are able to develop into different types of functional cells, including skin, intestinal, and red blood cells …

When a person gets injured or ill, their body’s cells either get damaged or die. When that happens, stem cells can aid in repairing damaged cells and replacing dead ones. This has prompted scientists to learn more about these cells and their applications in health care.

Some types of stem cells are capable of developing into any type of functional cell, while others cannot. For example, bone marrow stem cells can develop into red blood cells, white blood cells and other blood components, but not skin cells.

Characteristics

Stem cells are characterized by two abilities: self-renewal and potency:

  • Self-renewal: The ability to make copies of themselves without differentiating – developing into specialized cell types.
  • Potency: The ability to differentiate (aka, transform) into certain specialized cells.

Based on their differentiation capabilities, stem cells can be divided into the following categories:

  • Totipotent: These cells are capable of transforming into all kinds of different functional cells. Totipotent cells are able to develop into a complete fetus or body.
  • Pluripotent: Pluripotent stem cells are capable of transforming into all types of cells of the body derived from three leaves of embryonic germs: inner, middle and outer leaves. Unlike Totipotent cells, Pluripotent cells cannot develop into a complete fetus or body but can only be converted into certain cells and tissue lines.
  • Multipotent: These cells are capable of differentiating into a related family of cells. For example, hematopoietic stem cells can develop into red blood cells, white blood cells, lymphocytes…
  • Unipotent: These can only produce cells of their own type. However, they are still considered stem cells because of the ability to renew themselves. For example, platelets create new platelets, cells that direct red blood cells to develop new red blood cells…

Potential

Stem cells are the foundation of all functional organs in the human body, including the bones, muscles, heart, liver, etc. In case of massive damage to functional cells, stem cells get activated and form new cells to replace damaged ones.

Research on these cells is believed to help explain some of the functions and problems that occur in the body. From there, doctors may be able to find treatments for diseases that do not yet have a cure.

How many types of stem cells are available?

Stem Cell Types

Based on their origin, stem cells can be divided into 3 categories: Embryonic, Adult, and Induced pluripotent stem cells.

1. Embryonic stem cells

These cells are derived from embryos, produced from in vitro fertilization (IVF). At this stage, the embryo is called a blastocyst and contains about 150 cells. If a particular enzyme is used to separate the cells of this block, embryonic stem cells are obtained.

Embryonic stem cells are a type of Totipotent cells: they can be divided indefinitely to become all kinds of functional cells in the body.

2. Adult stem cells

This type of cell is found in most adult tissues, such as bone marrow or fat. However, they can also be found in children, the fetus or extracted from umbilical cord blood. The key role of these cells is to maintain and repair injuries in their tissues.

The use of adult cells in research and treatment is not as controversial as the use of embryonic ones, as it does not require destroying embryos. However, compared with embryonic cells, adult cells’ ability to produce different cells of the body is more limited.

3. Induced pluripotent stem cells

Induced pluripotent cells (iPS) are adult stem cells that have been manipulated to take on the pluripotent characteristics of embryonic stem cells. IPS cells are capable of infinitely proliferating and developing into all other types of cells in the body.

The biggest advantage of iPS is that they have almost all the characteristics of embryonic stem cells but are not created from embryos, thus limiting ethical disputes. In addition, iPS cells are made from the patient’s own cells, so they are less likely to be eliminated by the body.

What are Stem cells used for?

Stem Cell Applications

As mentioned above, stem cells can be used to regenerate damaged cells under the right conditions. This plays an important role in repairing cell damage due to illnesses or accidents. Below is a list of proven uses of stem cell technology.

1. Tissue regeneration

This is the most important application of stem cell technology. Normally, when a patient needs a new organ transplant, a donor is required first, and then the patient must undergo transplant surgery. The unavailability of donated organs at certain times have caused troubles for various patients. In that case, stem cell technology can help regenerate the patient’s damaged organs.

2. Anti-aging

Research has shown that Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) can aid in anti-aging. These cells are capable of repairing and replacing damaged old cells in the body, as well as treating many skin problems.

Stem cell therapy can help solve problems such as skin pigmentation, skin aging, large pores, and firm facial skin by:

  • Increasing skin resistance
  • Improve acne melasma, concave scars, acne scars
  • Reducing pigmentation, dark spots, skin lightening
  • Regenerating collagen and elastin at the damaged skin areas
  • Enhance skin firmness and elasticity

You may be interested in: Can Stem Cells Aid in Anti-Aging Treatment?

3. Medical treatment

Stem cell technology can aid in curing various illnesses and improving people’s quality of life.

  • Blood diseases: Doctors can use adult hematopoietic stem cells to treat diseases such as leukemia, sickle cell disease, and other immunodeficiency problems. Hematopoietic cells in the blood and bone marrow can produce all kinds of blood cells, including red blood cells carrying oxygen and white blood cells to fight against diseases.
  • Parkinson’s disease: In the case of Parkinson’s, brain cell damage may cause uncontrollable muscle movements. Scientists can use stem cells to replenish the damaged brain tissue, which may bring back the specialized brain cells that stop the uncontrolled muscle movements.
  • Cardiovascular diseases: Scientists are also working on developing blood vessels in the lab to transplant into people with heart diseases.
  • Diabetes: People with Type-1 diabetes can receive pancreatic cells to replace lost or destroyed insulin-producing cells. Previously, pancreas transplantation is the only choice for patients. However, very few pancreases are available for the procedure.

You may be interested in: What diseases can Stem cells cure?

Stem cell storage

Where do stem cells come from?

Stem cells can be donated to help sick people or stored for later use. These cells are extracted from various sources, including:

  • Bone marrow: These cells are usually collected from the hip and the pelvic bone.
  • Peripheral stem cells: You will receive several injections that cause your bone marrow to release stem cells into the blood. After blood is removed from the body, a machine separates out these cells, and doctors return the blood to the body.
  • Umbilical cord blood: Stem cells can be collected from a newborn’s umbilical cord without causing any harm to him/her.

Stem cell storage allows for future use while minimizing the possibility of cell rejection.

Illustration Video

Source: Swiss Medica Clinic

Where can I get high-quality stem cell treatment?

Stem cell therapy is truly a breakthrough in modern healthcare due to these cells’ amazing anti-aging and therapeutic effects. If you are able to perform the treatment, chances are you will experience a drastic improvement in your life quality!

For those who are interested in stem cell treatment, we have good news for you. At GO.CARE, we have a network of high-quality stem cell clinics in Asia, who have treated thousands of patients over the years. Our partners are mostly located in Bangkok, Thailand; in addition, some can also be found in neighboring countries such as Vietnam, Malaysia, South Korea, etc. Their treatment protocols have helped countless people on their journey to better health and a younger outlook.

Contact GO.CARE now for a COMPLETELY FREE consultation. Based on your condition, need and budget, we will help you choose a stem cell treatment option and clinic that best suits your interest.

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GO.CARE does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment services.

What Are Stem Cells?
https://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=what-are-stem-cells-160-38
Accessed on: June 08th, 2019

What are stem cells, and what do they do?
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323343.php
Accessed on: June 08th, 2019

Nine things to know about stem cell treatments
https://www.closerlookatstemcells.org/stem-cells-medicine/nine-things-to-know-about-stem-cell-treatments/
Accessed on: June 08th, 2019

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