TitleIn being a kid. This new breakthrough in

TitleIn 2017, a young seven-year-old boy was treated for a skin disease using new technology involving  stem cells. This method involved grafting skin from his body and genetically altering the stem cells to grow. Before this treatment his skin was very delicate and easily injured. Now this boy gets to live his life to the fullest just being a kid. This new breakthrough in regenerative medicines could alter how to heal people with skin diseases. So what is stem cell technology? Stem cell technology is the use stem cells, which can multiply quickly and are non-specific, to restore any harmed cells in the body. Not only do humans have stem cells, but animals have them too. The reason stem cell technology is so admired is because stem cells do not have an exact purpose, so they can be used to make any type of cell. Stem cells can also change lives, like the life of that little boy and many others. I chose to research stem cell technology because I want to study and work with biotechnologies such as stem cells when I am older. Stem cells have two naturally occurring types, adult and embryonic, but they also have a third modified type, called Induced Pluripotent stem cells. Induced Pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) are adult cells adjusted to act as embryonic stem cells. The process to make an adult stem cell into an iPSC involves injecting genes to replicate properties of embryonic stem cells. Stem cell technology applies stem cells to help heal people with diseases or other injuries, they are used as treatments for Parkinson’s disease and strokes, and people in the military with blast injuries or hearing loss can now have their tissues restored and regain usage.Stem cell technology uses stem cells to treat a multitude of conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and brain injuries caused by strokes. Out of the adult and embryonic stem cells, the most versatile type are embryonic stem cells because they are pluripotent and can turn into any other type of cell. Embryonic stem cells used for research come from blastocysts, which are five-day-old embryos and are formed in labs from in-vitro fertilization. The other type of stem cells, adult stem cells, have a more limited amount of possibilities because they are not pluripotent. Stem cells do not automatically change into any cell. They have to go through differentiation. Differentiation is when non-specific stem cells turn into specific cells. Stem cells can go through differentiation when the cell receives external signals such as physical contact, or molecules in a microenvironment can trigger differentiation. This process of changing into any type of cell is why stem cells have the ability to treat many different types of diseases. Some of the conditions embryonic stem cells have the potential to treat are Parkinson’s disease and strokes. Parkinson’s disease develops when there is a slow and continuous decline in the number of dopamine cells inside a brain. Researchers believe that it could be achievable to turn embryonic stem cells into dopamine cells. This development could help Parkinson’s because stem cells may be differentiated into dopamine cells, which can be injected into the brain. This treatment could restore the lack of dopamine cells therefore reducing the effects of Parkinson’s. Stem cell technology can even treat people with traumatic brain injuries. As traumatic brain injury patient, Robert, says, “I have travelled to Mexico to receive stem cell therapy three times. I can say without a doubt it has made a tremendous difference in my life.” Prior to his stem cell treatment, Robert was not able to go to school because of the pain. Now, Robert’s mental confusion and pain has dramatically lessened. One other condition that has the ability to be improved by stem cell technology are brain injuries associated with strokes. Researchers at Stanford conducted a study that involved eighteen stroke patients, and the results differ from the common idea that brain damage is permanent. These procedures included penetrating the skull and adding stem cells derived from bone marrow onto the area of the brain affected by the stroke. As the doctor who performed most of the surgeries, Steinberg, states, “Their recovery was not just a minimal recovery like someone who couldn’t move a thumb now being able to wiggle it. It was much more meaningful. One 71-year-old wheelchair-bound patient was walking again.” These breakthrough in treatments for traumatic brain injuries and brain injuries caused by stroke both heavily impacted the neuroscience community, and many more stem cell technologies can alter how other medical communities care for their patients.Stem cell technology can also make an impact on how to heal people injured in the military and is of high regard to those people because it can reconstruct massive wounds caused in war. In modern combat, one of the main injuries is the loss of tissue, so doctors hope that stem cells can revive the lost tissue and bring back function. Stem cell technology could be an alternative to amputating because it can repair tissue loss. This discovery could change veterans lives because instead of losing function in a leg, the leg could be fixed and go back to normal use. Another injury that exists in modern combat is hearing loss because of loud explosives. By using neural stem cells, hearing function can be improved. Also spinal injuries can be fixed by using neural stem cells. Now, people serving in the military that are deaf or have hearing loss could regain the ability to hear sound. Stem cells can also regenerate skin that has been injured. Since stem cells multiply quickly, the epidermis can be completely recreated. Besides all of the promise stem cells have, there is some controversy. In order to research and use embryonic stem cells, an embryo is demolished, so people who believe that embryos are alive are opposed to using embryonic stem cells. Destroying blastocysts is caused in the process of researching embryonic stem cells, so people who think that existence starts with conception believe that this research is immoral. These ideas have slowed down embryonic stem cell research, and has prompted researchers to try to find alternative to these cells. This has led researchers to create induced pluripotent stem cells. The government has rules regarding stem cell therapies, but they have not been strict on those rules. This has led the FDA to warn that providers might try to offer you unsafe and unproven stem cells treatments. In addition, on June 14, 2017 the governor of Texas passed a bill that will allow corporations to give stem cell treatments without approval from the federal government. “The law, effective 1 September, will allow people with severe chronic or terminal illness to be treated at a clinic that purports to isolate therapeutic stem cells from adult tissue—such as a patient’s own fat—if their doctor recommends it after considering all other options, and if it’s administered by a physician at a hospital or medical school with oversight from an institutional review board (IRB).”


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