Stem cells are the raw materials of the body. Studies of stem cells help scientists understand how diseases occur as they are able to watch the cells mature into bones and other tissues and organs.
Stem cell research is also applied in regenerative medicine, where scientists generate healthy cells to replace those that have been affected by disease. This form of therapy is commonly used on people with spinal cord injuries, type 1 diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
In this piece, we will cover some aspects of stem cell research you need to know.
1. Cellular Cryopreservation
Cellular cryopreservation is a process that preserves cells, tissues, organelles, and other biological constructs by cooling them to very low temperatures. The samples are usually kept at temperatures of -196 degrees Celsius. Cellular cryopreservation is commonly done using a controlled rate freezer, a lab tool that is able to preserve cells while protecting them from damage.
With controlled rate freezing, specialists have to add liquid nitrogen to a closed freezer chamber, where the cell suspension is placed. The low temperatures are able to slow or stop biological activity, and the controlled rate gives the specialists a chance to remove water from the material. This way, they are able to improve sample viability.
2. Therapeutic Cloning
Therapeutic cloning is also referred to as somatic cell nuclear transfer and is used to create versatile stem cells independent of fertilized eggs. Since this method uses the patient’s own stem cells, the transplants will be genetically identical to the stem cells. That means they will not be rejected by the patient’s immune system.
The donor cells may also be obtained from a close family member or someone with closely-matched tissue types. Therapeutic cloning hasn’t been adopted as a common form of treatment, but its research is quite promising.
3. Stem Cell Tourism
Stem cell therapy is quite effective in treating a number of medical issues. However, in the USA and other Western countries, this form of treatment is still not used because there are uncertainties about its negative impacts.
This has created a need for stem cell tourism. This is a situation where people from Western countries have to travel to other regions in order to enjoy stem cell therapy.
Issues with Stem Cell Research
Certain clinical, ethical, and social issues have slowed down the use of stem cell research in treating patients. Here are some of these issues:
- Stem cells cultured for a number of generations have been observed to behave like cancer cells.
- Cultured stem cells can be contaminated with viruses, and these will be transferred to the patient.
- It isn’t clear when an embryo should be treated as a person and not a commodity.
- Since the technology is still new, scientists may not be able to determine how effective it is.
Stem cell research is one of the most promising fields in medicine. Some of its most important aspects include cellular cryopreservation, therapeutic cloning, and stem cell tourism. The technology is still in its developmental stages, but doctors in various parts of the world are using it to treat patients.
Article Submitted By Community Writer