Currently, blood stem cells are the only type of adult stem cell used regularly for treatment; they have been used since the late s in the procedure now commonly known as bone marrow transplant. Transplants of neural stem cells have been tried in small numbers of patients with brain disorders such as Parkinson disease, and the FDA recently approved a clinical trial of neural stem cells for spinal cord injury. Preliminary research in animals has found that bone marrow stromal cells, injected into a damaged heart, can have beneficial effects. In some cases, it may be possible to infuse the stem cells into the blood, as in a bone marrow transplant. The cells find their own way to the proper location and begin forming the cells and tissues needed. In other cases, the cells may need to be injected directly into the organ or tissue that needs them.
Stem Cells for Retina: Where Are We Now?
Adult Stem Cells « Boston Children's Hospital
NIH researchers in Kapil Bharti's lab work toward the development of induced pluripotent stem cells to treat dry age-related macular degeneration. Of all the infirmities of old age, failing sight is among the cruelest. It can mean the end not only of independence, but of a whole spectrum of joys—from gazing at a sunset or a grandchild's face to reading a novel or watching TV. The leading cause of vision loss in people over 55 is age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, which afflicts an estimated 11 million Americans. As photoreceptors in the macula the central part of the retina die off, patients experience increasingly severe blurring, dimming, distortions, and blank spots in one or both eyes. The disorder comes in two varieties, "wet" and "dry," both driven by a complex interaction of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors. It begins when deposits of cellular debris accumulate beneath the retinal pigment epithelium RPE —a layer of cells that nourish and remove waste products from the photoreceptors above them.
Adult Stem Cell Research Far Ahead of Embryonic
Food and Drug Administration clinical trial using adult stem cell therapy. Stem cell research remains a controversial topic throughout much of the nation, for religious as well as ethical reasons. Embryonic stem cells, which can differentiate into extraembryonic tissues and are derived from human embryos, are a particularly hot-button topic. Scientists and researchers around the globe have been exploring the potential that adult regenerative stem cells could have on patients suffering from a variety of ailments, including spinal cord injuries, heart conditions and diabetes.
Stem cells and derived products offer great promise for new medical treatments. Learn about stem cell types, current and possible uses, ethical issues, and the state of research and practice. You've heard about stem cells in the news, and perhaps you've wondered if they might help you or a loved one with a serious disease. You may wonder what stem cells are, how they're being used to treat disease and injury, and why they're the subject of such vigorous debate.