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Jump to navigation. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Arthur C. Clarke once wrote.
When Nichelle Obar learned she was pregnant with her second child last year, she never expected that her pregnancy, or her baby, would make history. The heart was larger than it should have been, and there was evidence that fluid was starting to build up around the organ as well. Both were signs that the fetus was working extra hard to pump blood to its fast-growing body and that its heart was starting to fail.
Seven-time Ironman competitor Dave Kurtz is recovering from an autoimmune disease after a successful adult stem cell transplant, a procedure that used his own stem cells. Kurtz was diagnosed in December at age 65 with scleroderma, an autoimmune disease that causes the body to produce excess collagen. Until that point he lived a active lifestyle, competing in seven Ironman competitions involving a 2.
Stem cells and derived products offer great promise for new medical treatments. Learn about stem cell types, current and possible uses, ethical issues, and the state of research and practice. You've heard about stem cells in the news, and perhaps you've wondered if they might help you or a loved one with a serious disease.
Stem cells have tremendous promise to help us understand and treat a range of diseases, injuries and other health-related conditions. Their potential is evident in the use of blood stem cells to treat diseases of the blood, a therapy that has saved the lives of thousands of children with leukemia; and can be seen in the use of stem cells for tissue grafts to treat diseases or injury to the bone, skin and surface of the eye. Important clinical trials involving stem cells are underway for many other conditions and researchers continue to explore new avenues using stem cells in medicine.
But only a temporary benefit would be achieved with embryonic stem cell research, if any benefit at all. The immune system can reject embryonic cell and they are well known for their tumor production. But treatments for degenerative brain diseases, cancer, and auto-immune diseases have been developed using adult stem cells, and the breakthroughs that involve adult stem cells are lasting and almost always spectacular.
Stem cells have the potential to treat a wide range of diseases. Here, discover why these cells are such a powerful tool for treating disease—and what hurdles experts face before new therapies reach patients. How can stem cells treat disease? What diseases could be treated by stem cell research?
Adult stem cells are undifferentiated cells found throughout the body that divide to replenish dying cells and regenerate damaged tissues. Research into adult stem cells has been fueled by their abilities to divide or self-renew indefinitely and generate all the cell types of the organ from which they originate — potentially regenerating the entire organ from a few cells. Unlike embryonic stem cells, the use of adult stem cells in research and therapy is not controversial because the production of adult stem cells does not require the destruction of an embryo.
Adult stem cells, easily harvested from human bone marrow, umbilical cord blood and fat tissue, have a successful track record in treatments for more than 90 medical conditions and diseases, including sickle cell anemia, multiple myeloma cancer and damaged heart tissue. So why do so many Americans, including some physicians, continue to champion research involving embryonic stem cells when this type of intervention has no documented cases of improving health and also requires the destruction of human life in its youngest form? Prentice, vice president and research director for the Washington-based Charlotte Lozier Institute—the education and research arm of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List—reported that more than 70, patients throughout the world are receiving adult stem-cell transplants annually, with an estimated 1 million total patients treated to date.