Effectiveness of Stem Cell Therapy in Human Treatment

Stem cell research followed the invention of techniques which aimed at altering the genetic material and human cells production methods in the Laboratory. In 1988,James Thomson University, of Madison, was able to get cells from embryos and grew them in laboratory, and later started a stem cell research, establishing the up to date world’s first human embryonic stem cells. Since then, the embryonic stem cells have been evidenced to have the ability to become any specialized cells in the body and to replace cells of many body organs.

The stem cells researches are endless and unpredictable. (Morrow 247). Researchers need to get the mechanism behind development of stem cells in order to have both embryonic cells and stem cells effective for treatment of clinical disorders.

Stem cells are cells in human and animal body, which can differentiate within a very short time to very many types of cells. Due to this ability they are considered to be the repairing system of the body, since every time they differentiate, the cells which already existed in the body are destroyed to accommodate the new ones, provided one is alive. Apart from, proliferating, they are unspecialized and can specialize to cells.

Stem cells can be grouped as: Embryonic stem cells which are developed in vitro from four days old fertilized egg’s embryo. It is characterized by blastocyst. Adult stem cells are the undifferentiated cells in a pool of differentiated ones in a tissue or organ. They are involved in repair and maintenance of the tissue where they are located. Some people regard these cells as somatic stem cells, and their origin in mature tissues is not recognized unlike the embryonic stem cells which originate of the embryo’s blastocyst. The Adult stem cells can stay in a tissue or organ for very long time without proliferating, until a disease or tissue injury activates them. Not all adult tissues have stem cells, and amongst the cells with stem cells are skin cell, red blood cell, the skeletal muscle, nerve cells, bone marrow, brain, liver among others. (Roy 335).

Embryonic stem cells can differentiate into all body’s cell types, unlike Adult stem cells which are limited to becoming different cell types of tissues they originated. Adult stem cells can increase in number of the cell types due to existence of plasticity in them. Many embryonic stem cells can be cultured, but Adult stem cells are very few if any in mature tissue and it’s hard to develop them in a way to increase their number in cell culture. This explains why adult stem cells is more used in therapy, because a patient’s own cells can be increased in a culture and later reintroduced into the same patient, thus lowering the risk of patient’s immune system rejecting a cells transplant. On the other hand both Embryonic and Adult stem cells can be used in therapy of disorders related to cell damage examples of these disorders include, leukemia, and various cancers related to blood as a result of bone marrow transplant. (Ford & Herbert).

Through research, it has come to be known that many medical disorders are as a result of differentiated cell damage. Examples of these include the blindness which occurs as a result of cornea damage, spinal cord injuries and resultant paralysis of skeletal muscles, ischemic stroke due to neurons lacking blood as a result of blood clotting in the brain the loss of myelin sheath around axons causes multiple sclerosis, the Parkinson’s disease due to destruction of dopamine-secreting cells of the brain, and the diabetes mellitus Type 1 due to autoimmune attack of beta cells of the pancreas. Although not all of the above disorders have found cure yet through stem cell therapy some have been effectively treated and research showing that there is still hope of getting treatment for the disorders using the therapy. Adult stem have been effectively used in therapy of cornea, where human epithelial stem cells of a patient’s other eye has been cultured and this has minimized the possibility of the recipient’s immune system rejecting the donors cells. Many human body organs have been used to transplant in other humans, giving exception to identical twins (Allman 120).

The ability of an individual to survive fully with one kidney has led to higher umber of living people to donate one of their kidneys to people with kidney failures pancreas have been used to patients suffering from Diabetes mellitus type 1, people with severe burns have had skin transplant with the skin got from their other parts of the body, and sight has been regained using cadavers cornea. Patients with inherited heart defects which results to heart failures have been given heart transplant. Cord blood has always been a good source of stem cells, and bone marrow has provided a good source of stem cells in increasing patient’s marrow due to decrease from congenital deficiency or destruction from therapy used to treat cancer (Turksen 330).

The stem cell therapy has not been very effective in all disorders due to several problems. These problems are donor related, recipient related or both. These problems include:

Infections- where the available donor is unable to donate the cells for transplant due to his, or her medical status or rather having transmittable diseases, thus restricting the donor from donating. The recipient is given drugs and therapies to minimize immune system from responding in order to avoid the cells from being rejected as well as to treat Graft-versus-host disease makes the patient’s body weak, thus unable to fight back disease causing agents such as viruses, bacteria or fungi.

In Graft-versus-host diseases the concerned are cells responsible for cell-medicated immunity in the cells being transplanted fights the recipient’s tissues placing an immune attack against them. Graft rejection- where, the donor’s cells are fought by the recipient’s immune system, creating an immune system against the cells. In this case the patient’s immune system views the cells as invaders. Cancer- when the patient’s immune system is, compromised, there is increase in cancer due to excessive production of the cells in the patients body.

However these problems can be solved by: Using parts of the body which are prevented from creating attack and examples of these include; brain, testes and eye among others. Tissue typing to be able to determine if antigen of the potential donor is histocompatible with the recipient’s thus using organs with no mismatch.

Incase where the patient’s immune system is suspected to be very sensitive, drugs and other therapies which can suppress the patients immune response.

Health parts of the body can be used as sources of cells and transplanting these cells to damaged parts of the body, or by using somatic cell nuclear transfer without a later attempt to implant the resulting blastocust in the uterus an example of this is incases where a patient gives a cells of his or her functioning eye to be used as graft to his or her damaged eye. This reduces the risk of the recipient’s immune system rejecting the donors graft (Ho 120).

Human cell lines can give rise to differentiated cells which in turn can be effectively used to test the safety of new drugs. Potential anti-tumor drugs have been tested using cancer cell lines. However when comparing a wide variety of drugs, conditions ought to be the same and this has been a challenge for researchers and scientists as they ought to have the ability to control the stem cell differentiation on a specific cell type for the drugs testing.

Human embryonic stem cells’ study is yet to be used to give information concerning the complex events which take place in the development of human being. Molecular and genetic control of the process when well understood can give information on the causes of diseases and providing better therapeutic strategies. However there is a challenge to this as scientist are yet to understand the signals necessary in operating the specific genes, to affect differentiation of the stem cells.

The above three uses of stem cells need more research in order to be effective. This is because the stem cells must be reproducibly made to integrate into the surrounding tissue after transplant, should be functionally appropriate for the recipient’s whole life, should not be harming the recipient, should survive in the body of the recipient after its transplant, should have be ability to differentiate into the desired cell type as well as being able to extensively proliferate to give enough qualities of a tissue, in order to be of best use for the purpose of transplant.

The method used in producing and in the usage of stem cells, creates a controversy. In that in order to start a stem cell line there must be either damage of human embryo or accompanied by therapeutic cloning. Human embryonic stem cell research is at the center of ethical debates.

As per opinion, despite the going against the ethical view of the embryonic stem cell culturing, it can be of great use especially if we can be able to know the biochemistry and be able to use both of the Embryonic and step cell in human therapy, as this can save our people and nation, who are dieing day and day out due to disorders as a result of cell damages.

Works Cited

Allman, Toney.Stem Cells. California: Lucent books, 2005.

Ford, M.and Herbert Michael.Stem cells’ Medicine, Science, Ethics and Law. London: St Paul Publications, 2003.

Ho, Anthony. Stem Cell Transplants, Biology, processing and therapy.Weinheim: Wiley-VCH, 2006.

Morrow, Lance. History’s Second Drafts. New York: Basic Books, 2007.

Porter, Roy. The Cambridge Medicine History. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006.

Turksen, Inc NetLibrary.Embrionic Stem Cell methods and protocols. New Jersey: Humana Press, 2002.