Stem cells can be used to treat a number of conditions and diseases, but it can be confusing trying to figure out how it all works. Stem cells treat disease of varying types in much the same way across the board. Understanding how stem cells treat disease is important in deciding if you want to pursue stem cell therapy for your medical condition.
How Stem Cells Work
It is important to first understand how stem cells work. Stem cells are undifferentiated cells that can multiply into chains of stem cells. The stem cells originate with either embryonic or adult stem cells, and from there they are grown into many chains of stem cells that can be used in the treatment of diseases. The stem cells have little purpose or direction until they are programmed by the researcher or doctor for a specific purpose.
Most stem cell treatments require undifferentiated stem cells to be injected into the area of the body that is diseased or damaged, such as heart muscles, lungs, nerves, joints, and other organs and skeletal systems. The stem cells, once injected into the site, take on the characteristics of the differentiated cells in the body. Essentially, the stem cells are adapting to become other needed healthy cells to replace diseased or damaged tissue.
Other Stem Cell Uses
Stem cells can also treat diseases in other ways. Researchers are using stem cells and scaffoldings to create new veins, nerves, or other components of the body for implantation into the affected system or organ. Stem cells are also used to treat conditions such as leukemia, where the cells of the body are dying off. The stem cells replace the damaged or diseased cells to allow patients to live longer and healthier lives.