The Real Truth about Stem Cells

Published: August 7, 2005  |  Source: ashleighhall.com
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Spinal Cord Injuries affect millions of individuals worldwide. The cost to the patient, family, and society is enormous both from a financial and emotional standpoint. In the past, these patients were given no hope of cure or return of function.

The field of restorative neuroscience is bubbling with energy and expectation. There are more scientists working on brain and spinal cord dysfunction now that at any time in history. Even the most conservative researchers no longer believe that the damaged or diseased nervous system cannot be treated. This is to help you understand exactly what Stem cells are and what they do.

Their are 6 types of Stem cells

1. Embryonic – Embryonic Stem Cells, as their name suggests, are derived from embryos. Specifically, embryonic stem cells are derived from embryos that develop from eggs that have been fertilized in-vitro — and then donated for research purposes with Informed Consent of the donors. They are not derived from eggs fertilized in a woman’s body.

2. Umbilical Cord Stem Cells – Newborn infants no longer need their umbilical cords or placenta, so they have traditionally been discarded as a by-product of the birth process.

3. Bone Marrow Stem Cells – Perhaps the best-known stem cell therapy to date is the bone marrow transplant, which is used to treat leukemia and other types of cancer, as well as various blood disorders.

4. Peripheral Blood Stem Cells – While most blood stem cells reside in the bone marrow, a small number are present in the bloodstream.

5. Adult Stem Cells – Olfactory Stem cells – Cells from the olfactory nerve above the ridge of the nose. The Olfactory cells are some of the only nerve cells in the body capable of continually regenerating themselves.

6. Schwann Stem Cells – Schwann Cells are the supporting cells of the PNS (Peripheral Nervous System). Schwann cell migration and proliferation occur in the fluid around the regenerating nerve.

Paralysis is the result of some sort of disconnection between the Central Nervous System (the brain and spinal cord) and the body. Sometimes scientists know why this happens, as in the case of trauma, for example, wherein nerve cells are knocked out by directly by some outside force. In many other cases, including diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis, the breakdown of the nervous system comes from within, and this makes for a very complex mystery.

A generation ago, the notion of “cure” for spinal cord injury or other paralyzing conditions wasn’t part of the vocabulary. The central nervous system was simply not viewed as fixable. Few scientists invested their careers in what was considered a dead end area of research. But over the years, things have changed.

Stem cells are unspecialized. One of the fundamental properties of a stem cell is that it does not have any tissue-specific structures that allow it to perform specialized functions. However, unspecialized stem cells can give rise to specialized cells, including heart muscle cells, blood cells, or nerve cells.

Which means Stem cells can grow to be any type of cell in the human body including full organs themselves. Stem cells are the building blocks of the human body.

Most Embryonic Stem cells generally face disposal from clinics performing in-vetro Fertilization. Most others will be frozen for later use. The embryos from which human embryonic stem cells are derived are typically four or five days old and are a hollow microscopic ball of cells called the blastocyst. The blastocyst includes three structures: the trophoblast, which is the layer of cells that surrounds the blastocyst; the blastocoel, which is the hollow cavity inside the blastocyst; and the inner cell mass, which is a group of approximately 30 cells at one end of the blastocoel.

Umbilical cord blood stem cell transplants are less Prone to rejection than either bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cells. This is probably because the cells have not yet developed the features that can be recognized and attacked by the recipient’s immune system. Also, because umbilical cord blood lacks well-developed immune cells, there is less chance that the transplanted cells will attack the recipient’s body, a problem called graft versus host disease.

Both the versatility and availability of umbilical cord blood stem cells makes them a potent resource for transplant therapies.

The Bone marrow stem cell is capable of developing into the specialized cells lining intestines, lung and skin. A Study from John Hopkins provides clear evidence that a transplanted bone marrow stem cell can not only reconstitute bone marrow, but also may play a role in healing other tissues and organs as well.

Peripheral blood stem cell transplantation is a new technique in which stem cells are obtained from a patient’s blood and used in bone marrow transplantation. under normal circumstances, stem cells are rarely seen in the blood stream. To recruit enough stem cells into the blood, stem cells are lured out of the bone marrow by a special regimen of drugs and coaxed into entering the peripheral blood (the blood stream).

Olfactory mucosal tissue from the nasal cavity is rich in stem cells, as well as nerve cells. Stem cells are cells in their infancy. They are capable of becoming nerve cells, and forming new neural connections and blood vessels when implanted in a spinal cord injury site.

Schwann cells begin to form the Myelin sheath in mammals during fetal development and work by spiraling around the Axon, sometimes with as many as 100 revolutions. A well-developed Schwann cell is shaped like a rolled-up sheet of paper, with layers of myelin in between each coil. The inner layers of the wrapping, which are predominantly membrane material, form the myelin sheath while the outermost layer of nucleated cytoplasm forms the neurolemma.

Nancy Reagan and many others have stood up for Stem Cell therapy and we urge people across the nation to open your eyes and see what we have before us and help us do what her doctors have always said was impossible.