Before I proceed with this article proper, let me give a brief description on what is a stem cell. Stem cells exist in every one of us who has a healthy body. This cell has the ability to mimic the damaged cells in our body so if we are to fall ill, and some of our healthy cells gets damaged, stem cells will turn themselves into these damaged cells, replaces the damaged ones so we won’t feel the loss, thereby making us healthy again. Of course this description is just a short summary of what basically is a stem cell. There are plenty of articles available in the Net which gives in depth explanation about stem cells.
Stem cells and their wonderful ability to multiply into any specific cells were first discovered in the 1880s when scientist realised that there were certain cells in our body that has the ability to develop onto other cells. Based on this discovery, stem cell therapy began it’s roots and the most well received stem cell treatment today is for leukemia where bone marrow, which is also a stem cell, has achieved remarkable results for patients suffering from this disease after the stem cell transplant.
Today, stem cell research has taken this therapy into new in roads and many ailments can be treated by stem cell therapy. Common ailments like Osteoarthritis, or degenerative arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, just to mention a few have been very responsive to stem cell treatments. The latest discovery is something called the GCSF treatment, a process that stimulate the patients own bone marrow to produce the patients own stem cells which are released into the blood stream traveling to sites of illness repairing, rejuvenating and healing the health problem.
Despite all the goodness of stem cell therapy, there have been numerous contradicting issues that have been questioned by a portion of society. This issues mainly concerns social and human ethics and the way stem cells have been harvested. Some issues have been highly publicised, particularly the issue of stem cells derived from embryos or Embryonic stem cells which can be used to build every single type of cell within the adult body. Questions were raised because Embryonic stem cells come from the fertilized egg during the earliest stages of gestation.
Another issued that caused some controversy is the Cord Blood Stem Cells which is obtained from cells taken from the blood left in the umbilical cord after delivery. Though this cell have been proven to work wonderfully as an anti aging cure, the way that this cells were obtained has caused uproars among politicians and NGOs questioning the humanity and the social responsibility of such practises.
However, controversies aside, mankind has benefited hugely from the advancements that has been achieved in stem cell therapy in recent years. It is only a difference in opinions and the way things are perceived that has created a minor obstruction for further advancements.