In recent years there have been many exciting medical advancements that have changed the way that we view medical treatments today. We are constantly learning new things about the human body and its natural repair system. There has been a great focus in recent years on how we can promote the body’s natural repair process to help treat a number of different medical conditions. This focus is called regenerate medicine. Regenerative medicine promotes the natural functioning of the body’s immune defenses to increase the repair process response and promote the growth of healthy cells and restore the proper function of damaged tissues, organs, and cells. In order to understand how to promote the body’s natural repair functions it is important for researchers in this field to understand how and why stem cells are able to develop into other specialized types of cells. By manipulating stem cells and encouraging them to develop in to certain types of cells there is great potential for the future of regenerative medicine to be able to grow stem cells as certain types of cells, such as blood cells, and implant those cells in to an affected patient to repair damaged cells or defend the body against dangerous cell types.
There are many exciting opportunities that come along with the growth of the regenerative medicine field, including possibilities in the future to develop “tissue replacement therapies” that could restore the proper functioning of damaged organs and tissues. One day the hope is that the processes of regenerative medicine will be able to potentially grow new and fully functioning organs that can be transplanted in to the affected patient’s body. If this becomes a reality it could eliminate much of the need for organ and blood donors. Researchers in the field of regenerative medicine are hopeful that one day they will be able to grow fully functioning organs and tissues in the lab that can be used for treatment of many different diseases. These therapies are still in the beginning testing stages and must be tested for safety and long term effectiveness before being made available to the public.
One type of stem cell therapy that is already widely used among the public is called stem cell transplant or bone marrow transplant. This is the process of acquiring healthy stem cells either from a donor or from an unaffected area of the patient to be stored and then later implanted in to the affected patient. Stem cell or bone marrow transplants that use stem cells from a donor are called allogenic transplants. Transplant that take stem cells from the affected patient to be stored and returned to the patient later are called autologous transplants. Both transplants are widely used for the treatment of many diseases including sickle cell anemia, multiple myeloma, and leukemia. This type of stem cell therapy has a high success rate although there are major complications that can arise. One such complication is called graft versus host, which can occur after an allogenic transplant. Graft versus host is when the patient’s body rejects the transplanted cells.