Stem cell treatment uses stem cells to help repair diseased or injured tissue. It is similar to an organ transplant, but instead of replacing an entire organ, only the cells get replaced. To replace a cell, stem cells get injected into the part of the body that needs to be restored.
While there is still much research to be done, stem cell therapy is proving to be beneficial for these three medical conditions.
1. Type 1 Diabetes
Also known as insulin-dependent diabetes, type 1 diabetes occurs when the pancreas doesn't produce enough insulin. The pancreas can't produce adequate amounts of insulin because the cells inside the pancreas are destroyed. Type 1 diabetes is especially common in children, which is why it's also called juvenile diabetes.
One of the only ways to treat type 1 diabetes is to inject insulin into the body, which is usually done with a needle or insulin pump. There have been some successful studies with stem cells getting injected into the pancreas. The pancreas could then produce insulin, which reduced the need for insulin injections.
2. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
ALS is a nervous system disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. ALS is a progressive disease and eventually leads to a loss of muscle control. Muscle twitches and weakness in the limbs are some of the first signs of this disease.
Other symptoms include difficulty walking, slurred speech, inappropriate crying, and cognitive changes. While there is no cure for this fatal disease, in some cases, stem cell treatment has slowed the progression of ALS. In these instances, stem cells helped to sustain and nurture diseased motor neurons, which directly control muscle movement.
3. Spinal Cord Injuries
When the spinal cord becomes damaged, it results in a spinal cord injury. Some of the most common causes of spinal cord injuries include:
- Auto and motorcycle accidents
- Gunshot wounds
- Sports injuries
- Diseases, such as cancer and osteoporosis
When the spinal cord becomes damaged it can cause an array of symptoms including extreme back pain, paralysis, loss of bladder control, and impaired breathing. Severe spinal cord injuries can cause permanent, irreversible damage. In some cases, rehabilitative therapy can help a person with a spinal cord injury regain movement in their limbs.
Recent research suggests that stem cell treatment is another promising type of therapy for spinal cord injuries. Treatment involves the use of adult stem cells that come from human umbilical cord tissue. The stem cells get injected directly into the spinal canal, which helps to reverse damage to the spinal cord.
To learn more about stem cell treatment contact a specialist near you.