Stem the number 1 cause of death globally. With

Stem cells are remarkable. Research into them could have a huge implications. As expected with such a broad and interesting topic, there is a lot of information out there. Throughout this essay, I will be do various things. Firstly, I will explain what a Stem Cell is and what is its purpose. After this, I will explain with a few paragraphs why these cells are so important giving various applications in modern medicine in which stem cells show just how important they are. First talking about
Within our bodies lie many complex organs. These organs are in turn made of billions of specialized cells. However, as we very well know, when we break a bone or suffer an injury, cells die. This is where stem cells come in. Normal cells, like muscle cells, blood cells, or nerve cells do not normally replicate themselves, however stem cells can do something we call “proliferate”. Which means they may replicate many times even after a long period of being idle. They do not have pre-determined roles and stay in a sort of ‘stand by’, ready to replace other cells when needed. When they divide each new cell has two options. Either remain as a stem cell or become specialized and take up the role of a more specific cell. They are essentially the repair system of our body and without them we would not be able to regenerate any damage done to our bodies. With this in mind you can imagine the infinite applications of stem cells in medicine.
Firstly, stem cells could be used as treatment for cardiovascular diseases or (CVD). CVD’s are ranked as the number 1 cause of death globally. With the most prominent of these being coronary heart disease and stroke. CVD often result in deprivation of oxygen to cardiomyocytes ( the heart’s muscle cells ). Leading to a narrowing and damaging of the blood vessels that supply the heart. While the heart does have a small population of cardiac stem cells, they are insufficient to repair all the damage. Injecting stem cells into the affected areas of the heart leads to the secretion of certain proteins and paracrine that further help in the repairs of the damaged area. This treatment, if done properly can help patients recover from CVD in a much less invasive manner. Pharmacological and surgical approaches leave behind scars in the cardiac tissue, making this a much less invasive and easy way of treating these issues.
Secondly, the use of stem cells to cure Leukemia. Leukemia is a cancer of the white blood cells, or leukocytes. Leukocytes are formed from somatic stem cells, like other blood cells. When the leukocytes are mature enough they are released into the bloodstream, where they play the important role of fighting off viruses and diseases. The problem forms leukocytes begin to become cancerous. For leukemia to be successfully treated, one must first eliminate all cancerous cells, allowing for new, non-cancerous cells to form. One possible treatment is chemotherapy which is composed of powerful drugs that kill all the cells, wether they are cancerous or not. When this isn’t enough doctors turn to bone marrow transplants in which the bone marrow stem cells from the sick patient are replaced ( killed and then given injections of the donor’s bone marrow) with those of a healthy and compatible donor. If the procedure is successful, the healthy stem cells will begin producing healthy leukocytes therefore curing the patient.
Lastly, in the future, we might be able to potentially regenerate limbs. Right now this is completely impossible as humans have very little regenerative capacities. However there is promise as seen in cases of digit tip regeneration, this gives scientists researching hope to find a solution. In the future we might be able to regenerate entire limbs using stem cells as a vital part of the process. Keeping this in mind we are only beginning to scratch the surface on how mammalian and amphibian regeneration is accomplished and we have been studying regeneration for almost a century now so it might not be possible for decades or centuries from now.
In conclusion, stem cells are an extremely useful tool for doctors and scientists in all sorts of scenarios. Wether this be curing a cancer, helping CVD victims, or even potentially helping to regenerate entire limbs, stem cells will definitely be a stepping stone for the scientific community into what we perceive to be total science fiction today. It will definitely come with its fair share of controversy as all advancements in science have, but in the end people will come to see it as it is. Another tool for humans to use to their advantage.