Treatments utilizing regenerative medicine cause our body’s natural healing processes to work both more effectively and rapidly. This form of medicine can allow our body to regenerate in ways that it would not ordinarily be capable of.
Some of the many forms of treatment it offers is stem cell transplants, implanted scaffolding materials that cause stem cells to activate, and manipulation of a patient’s own stem cells. This form of medicine eventually seeks to completely eliminate the need for transplants and the associated complications of that form of surgery. After all, if an organ can be regenerated by one’s own body, the body has no reason to reject the organ.
Regenerative medicine has already shown promising laboratory results in healing of bad burns, fractured or broken bones, blindness, deafness, joint issues, heart damage, nerve damage, lost brain cells (ex. Parkinson’s disease), and a wide variety of other conditions. Organs that are not particularly complex, such as the trachea and the bladder, have been successfully constructed from the stem cells of a patient and have served as successful transplants in patients.
The Progress of Stem Cell Research
Due to solid funding and a huge interest in the field, stem cell research is rapidly advancing. The most common form of stem cell treatment used today is in the form of transfusions. The majority of these types of treatment utilize stem cells extracted from the patient. The cells are in turn grown in a cell culture to dramatically increase the number of cells. Then, those cells are injected back into the patient’s body.
While the basic concept of stem cell therapy sounds like a miracle that promises to cure-all, it is not nearly as simple as it sounds. The complexity of the therapies has required the combined efforts of thousands of scientists in order to bring stem cell therapy to where it is today.
Rejuvenation of Aged Stem Cells
The ability of stem cells to repair and maintain the body declines in age. This is one of the causes of eventual organ and other bodily tissue failure. The cause of this has been found to be an increase in dormant stem cells resulting from a change in chemical signals traveling through the various tissues of the body. By methods such as infusing old tissues in the body with youthful blood, these dormant stem cells can be reactivated and as a result, aging on the tissues can potentially be reversed.
Human Longevity Through Regenerative Medicine
Regenerative medicine shows extreme promise in increasing longevity. Already, researchers are finding ways to repair some of the various types of damage resulting from aging. Things such as worn joints and organ failure will become a thing of the past. Organ transplants will be able to be grown from a patient’s own stem cells without any need for donors, or even better, grown (or repaired) in their own body without any need for surgery at all whatsoever.
While science has numerous obstacles to overcome in order to have regenerative medicine serve as a “fountain of youth,” it is only a matter of time before those obstacles are overcome. More and more of the obstacles are being broken down every day, getting us closer and closer to a cure to the degradation effects of aging.