Once again, we enter a new year with hope for a healthy and happy future. To me, that includes exciting new medical advances for treating injuries, conditions and, some day, for reversing the damage caused by serious diseases. Right now, I’m placing a lot of hope in the science of regenerative medicine, which includes stem cell therapy. As you may already be aware, stem cell therapy is a procedure our expert staff at New Jersey Pain Care Specialists has been successfully using to repair damage from conditions such as degenerative disc disease, desiccated discs, spinalstenosis, facet arthrosis, sacroiliac joint syndrome, osteoarthritis of any joint, and sports or overuse injuries.
However, looking toward the future, stem cells have the potential to treat even more conditions and some of the more serious diseases and medical issues affecting the world.
Stem cells and human development
To fully harness the potential of stem cells, health and medical researchers must continue to study how stem cells transform – or “differentiate” – into the diverse range of specialized cells that make up people. Because diseases like cancer and conditions such as birth defects are thought to be caused by problems in the differentiation process, understanding the development that happens in normal cells can help treat developmental problems.
Stem cells and cell-based therapies
Another potential application of stem cells is to form cells and tissues for medical therapies. Currently, donated organs and tissues must be transplanted to replace damaged or dysfunctional ones. Unfortunately, the waiting lists are lengthy and many patients die before they receive what they need. Stem cells offer a viable source of replacement cells to treat diseases. and can potentially save many lives.
Stem cells and drug testing
New drugs could be tested on stem cells to assess their safety before they are tried on animals and humans.
Stem cells and disease reversal
Directing stem cells to differentiate into specialized cell types can provide a renewable source of replacement cells for people suffering from diseases. There is even the possibility that stem cells can someday reverse damage from conditions such as:
Heart Attack – Damaged tissue caused by a heart attack could be replaced by healthy new muscle cells.
Parkinson’s Disease – The destruction of brain cells could be reversed with new, functioning brain cells.
Genetic Defects – For defects that are present from birth, introducing normal healthy cells could restore function and health.
Severe Burns – Instead of tissues being donated, stem cells could be used to produce new and healthy tissues. A very small patch of skin could be grown to cover a burn that is much larger than the original skin sample.
The potential for stem cell therapy is enormous and endless. For the many people it can someday help, it can’t come soon enough.
From the entire staff at New Jersey Pain Care Specialists, all the best to you and your family in the new year!
At the present time, stem cell therapy in the U.S. is not covered by medical insurance.