The Healing Potential of Stem Cells

Stem cells are important in the treatment of humans, as these cells may have profound potential to aid in repairing the body system. As a knee pain doctor like our friends at Premier Osteoarthritis Centers of Pennsylvania can explain, there are different types of stem cells, and they are categorized by their ability to differentiate into other kinds of cells. This approach to treatment has grown in recent years, with scientists and doctors alike working hard to figure out more. So far, research has shown that several human conditions can benefit from stem cell treatment. Patients who are considering trying this form of treatment may have plenty of questions about what to expect. Some patients may not even understand exactly what a stem cell does.

Here are just a few common questions patients may ask their doctor when thinking about treatment options for their disability, injury, or disease:

How can stem cells encourage healing?

Stem cell treatments can help the body build new and healthy tissues in the place of injured or diseased cells. For example, stem cells could help grow new knee cartilage for a patient that struggles with knee pain or recently suffered a terrible injury. Stem cells can speed up the healing process in different areas of the body.

What are the different types of stem cells?

Stem cells are part of the repair system for humans and can encourage the body to heal itself with the assistance of stem cell treatments. The two main kinds of stem cells are adult stem cells (somatic stem cells) and embryonic stem cells (ES). There are other types of stem cells that may be manipulated in a lab by scientists, depending on what the patient needs or what is being researched. An example of this is the pluripotent stem cell.

What conditions may be treated with stem cells?

Pluripotent stem cells may be able to treat a wide range of conditions, including blindness, spinal cord injuries, Parkinson’s disease, severe burns, arthritis, heart disease and diabetes. The goal of a doctor or scientist is to use stem cells to repair damaged cells within the patient based on the illness, injury, disease or disability he or she is challenged by.

How can stem cell treatments help us understand human disease?

Researchers have been using stem cells as a way to further understand human disease, in addition to testing and creating drugs that may be able to treat a patient suffering from a serious condition. The more we know about how the body heals and what drugs can promote this process, the more patients can find relief.

How long should a patient expect to recover from a stem cell transplant?

After receiving a stem cell treatment, the patient must wait for the cells to engraft, in which they then multiply and create new blood cells. The time it may take for the transplant to show signs of success can range from about two weeks to just over a month. However, this time frame is average, as to how long it takes before the patient starts returning to normal blood counts can vary greatly.