Biomedical Engineering Blog

Biomedical Engineering

The Biomedical Engineering blog is the place for conversation and discussion about topics related to engineering principles of the medical field. Here, you'll find everything from discussions about emerging medical technologies to advances in medical research. The blog's owner, Chelsey H, is a graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) with a degree in Biomedical Engineering.

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Stem Cell Therapy: Let’s Look at the Facts

Posted July 23, 2007 6:00 AM by shanlax

When you hear the phrase "stem cells", what's the first thought that comes to mind? If you're like most people, you think of embryonic/fetal stem cells. But did you know that researchers are now using stems cells found in adults along with those from the placenta and umbilical cord? Although embryonic stem cells continue to be the most universal and versatile type of stem cells, researchers are proving that there is more potential in adult stem cells than previously believed. Skeptical? Let's take a look at the facts.

Researchers at Columbia University have learned that adult stem cells taken from bone marrow are useful in facial reconstructive surgery. Because these stem cells come from the patient, they do not become inert. Continuous cellular generation keeps the implant alive and prevents decreases in size and losses in shape - major problems in the majority of skin grafts. This approach may also work with breast reconstruction after mastectomy, an all-too-common surgery for the treatment of breast cancer.

Can adult stem cells be used in other medical applications? Yes! In a previous blog entry, Regeneration of the Mind, I discussed how stem cells from the bone marrow or developing brain of an adult can be used in the regeneration of neural tissues. This regeneration can slow degenerative neural diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, and even repair injuries to the spinal cord and brain.

The human heart is another core system that could be repaired by stem cells Because heart tissues are post-mitotic (i.e., they stop dividing after adulthood), surgeons struggle to repair even minor damage. Unfortunately, there are several diseases of the heart and circulatory system that go beyond repair. Today, research aimed at providing therapeutic cardiovascular treatments is critical. According to one source, "One in three female adults has some form of cardiovascular disease".

Imagine the number of diseases and injuries that could be cured and repaired due to research in stem cell-based therapy. The earth revolves around the sun continuously. Shouldn't our research always progress as well?

Resources:

http://www.cumc.columbia.edu/news/press_releases/Mao_NIH07.html

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20060188983.html

http://digital.virtualmarketingpartners.com/vmp/siemens/womenshealth/index.php

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