Stem cells have the potential to forever change the face of modern medicine. These small but mighty cells are helping us understand – and treat – a broad scope of health conditions and diseases. Specialized human cells that have the ability to divide and morph into other types of cells, stem cells are proving to be viable pain management tools. Not only can they treat hip pain, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s, but stem cells may also provide a solution for certain blood cancers, organ failure, and immune disorders. More on that later.
The more we learn about the potential benefits of stem cells, the better prepared we are for the future. But stem cell research would be nowhere without those that first started the movement. First introduced to the medical industry in the 1950s to treat leukemia, stem cells have experienced mixed reactions from the general public and healthcare field alike. Today there are numerous stem cell laws. In this article, we are going to take a closer look at stem cell policy and why it’s important. As proponents for regenerative medicine and the use of stem cell therapy, we want to make sure our patients have everything they need to make an informed decision about their health.
Stem cells are powerful. They can help repair the brain, protect us against age-related disease, and improve overall body function, as we saw with this young quadriplegic. Researchers and stem cell advocates believe that stem cells and other forms of regenerative medicine may be able to treat conditions previously thought untreatable.
Before we take a look a back at the history of stem cell policy, let’s go over the different types of stem cells:
There are two other types of stem cells: mesenchymal stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells, but for our purposes, only embryonic and adult stem cells are important.
Now that we’ve looked at the different types of stem cells, let’s dive into the history of stem cell policy and research. Here is a brief timeline of what has occurred since stem cell research began in the 1950s:
When talking about any stem cell controversies, embryonic stem cells are at the center. When stem cells were first used for medical purposes, they were human cells from embryos. However, many people in the general public were against this because it meant destroying the embryo. For some, life starts when the embryo turns into a fetus. Following this public backlash, President George W. Bush banned funding for stem cell research in 2001. President Obama later reversed this, as mentioned in the above timeline. Today, researchers use adult stem cells from bone marrow, skin, and other parts of the body in research and clinic trials in place of embryonic stem cells.
As stem cell research advances, it is imperative there are stem cell laws in place to oversee this research. Although there has been a great deal of controversy surrounding embryonic stem cells, in particular, the more we learn, the better. Adult stem cells have become a larger piece of the research that is being conducted, allowing us to treat conditions such as:
For those interested in learning more about stem cell research, or about how stem cell research policy has changed over the years, please give Texas Partners Healthcare Group a call. If you would like to know more about how stem cell therapy can treat certain conditions, schedule an appointment with one of our specialists at our Frisco pain management clinic today.