These miraculous cells have the potential to heal all kinds of degenerative conditions and injuries. Research is on-going but stem cells appear to work by migrating to the site of disease and dividing to replace the damaged cells. Reseach so far appears to show they have the potential to regenerate all kinds of body tissue. Scientists have used them to reverse diabetes, regenerate the liver and brain.
It is possible that they have the potential to be the ultimate anti-ageing treatment.
There are three types of human stem cells:
Embryonic cells from fetal tissue. These are technically the most powerful stem cells.
Adult stem cells are taken from the bone marrow of adults which need to match the donor to avoid rejection and are less powerful.
Cord blood stem cells extracted from the discarded umbilical cords from natural full term births. Although technically adult they contain much of the power of an embryonic cells. These cells are processed so that they have no red or white cells so there is no need for matching and no rejection. In most cases, cord clood ctem cells therapy involves one simple IV (intravenous) injection.
The use of stem cells for research is tightly regulated in most countries but there are a growing number of private stem cell “banks” where parents can deposit stem cells from umbilical cords for future use should the child or another family member fall ill.
To find out more about stem cells by visiting the sites of the Research bodies