Using human stem cells for various medical therapies is nothing new. Adult stem cells have been used for decades in bone marrow transplant procedures and, more recently, growing numbers of doctors are using stem cells harvested from patients themselves as part of platelet rich plasma therapy for pain management and the treatment of certain kinds of injuries. But there’s a whole new opportunity just gathering on the horizon, an opportunity involving synthetic stem cells.
Current stem cell training for doctors, such as the training offered by Apex Biologix, focuses on stem cells obtained from a patient’s bone marrow or fat tissue. While the stem cells can be used effectively to treat chronic pain and accelerate the healing process, they are limited in what they can do. They also pose certain problems for certain kinds of treatments, like cancer, for example.
Researchers have been reluctant to use natural adult stem cells for cancer treatment because cells taken from the patients themselves could produce more cancer under certain conditions. Obtaining adult stem cells from donors hasn’t proven effective either. So now researchers from North Carolina State University are working with synthetic stem cells that they say could provide an “off-the-shelf” treatment for replacing tissue damaged by cancer.=
Widespread Use a Long Way Off
The North Carolina State University researchers behind the synthetic stem cell project claim that the cells they have created are capable of helping to repair muscle tissue without adversely affecting the immune system. The benefit here is that the base material used to make the synthetic cells doesn’t necessarily have to come from the patient receiving treatment. Thus, they say their treatment is an off-the-shelf treatment.
If their research proves fruitful, it could mean a whole range of treatment options suddenly becomes available to a broad base of patients. There are hopes of developing a synthetic stem cell therapy that could be used to treat cancer, heart disease, and even neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
The speed at which medical science and government approve work indicates that a commercially viable treatment is still a long way off. Even if researchers could prove their theories today, it would be years before a viable therapy reached the open market. Still, the use of synthetic stem cells is closer in the grand scheme of things than ever before.
Learning from Current Therapies
As exciting as the potential of synthetic stem cell treatment might be, the medical community is still learning from current therapies. It is not an understatement to say that stem cell therapy in its current state offers a lot more potential than many other therapies currently under development. Every time a patient is treated with stem cell therapy, there is more to learn about how the body works to heal itself.
A doctor undergoing a stem cell training course today would learn about how adult stem cells taken from the patient can stimulate the growth of bone, ligaments, cartilage and other kinds of tissue. The doctor would learn how stem cell therapy can help relieve chronic pain and accelerate natural healing from devastating injuries. But that training course would be just the start. The doctor would continue learning about the wonders of stem cell therapy throughout years of practice.
The future of stem cell therapy does indeed look bright. The more we learn about it, the more we are coming to understand just how important stem cells are to natural healing. With any luck, synthetic stem cell training will be a normal part of the training offered to doctors looking to help people through stem cell therapies.
- Telegraph – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2016/12/26/synthetic-stem-cells-promise-muscle-regeneration-without-cancer/