Stem cell are building blocks produced by the body. Ultimately the cells take on a function as required by the body. Is it possible to harvest many body tissues for stem cells. Locations for harvesting including the brain, skeletal muscle, liver, bone, teeth, and others. Liquid nitrogen is used to store stem cells to be used at a later date.
Stem cell therapy is becoming more popular as scientists and doctors use increasingly sophisticated technologies to grow new tissues for replacement of diseased or damaged organs, test new drugs for effectiveness and combat the effects of aging. Old tissues may be replaced by new ones, using stem cells, and this has obvious anti-aging benefits. Below are five anti-aging benefits of stem cell therapy:
Youthful looking skin
stem cells contain peptides and amino acids which act as building blocks for cells and ensure constant regeneration. Besides, stem cells contain antioxidants that help to clear the skin and boost collagen production which in turn leads to firmer skin and reduces wrinkles and lines. Many skin care products contain both animal and plant stem cells.
As a rule, you should choose for plant stem cells since this helps to regenerate skin and repair old and damaged skin cells.
Treating degenerative neurological diseases
Degenerative neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, ALS and others manifest in old age and severely affect the quality of life of the people suffering from them. Stem cell therapy can help to alleviate or reduce the effects of these conditions. The body secretes growth factors and cytokines which prompt the growth and division of new stem cells. Stem cells are used to replace problematic cells. The new cells reduce the inflammation that contributes to the development of degenerative diseases.
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSC’s) are easily transplanted into the human body. These cells have also been shown to be well tolerated by the body. MSCs may provide neuroprotection by secreting several growth factors as well as other factors such as KGF, PGDF, and others which may prompt regeneration of brain cells and prevent degenerative diseases.
Stroke prevention and treatment.
The California Stem Cell Agency has listed stroke prevention as one of the projects that are undergoing research to determine the effectiveness of stem cells in preventing and treating stroke. Over 795,000 people suffer from strokes in the USA with the majority of strokes occurring in older adults over the age of 65. Stroke is the second leading cause of death after ischaemic heart disease as well as a major contributor to disability.
One of the reasons that strokes cause so much damage to survivors is the fact that they destroy so many brain cells. This is where stem cells come in. There are currently many clinical trials trying to discover whether scientists can develop brain cells that can replace the ones damaged in strokes.
Research conducted in the year 2000 used cells from a tumor known as a teratocarcinoma to produce lab-grown neurons which were then transplanted into the brains of rats that had had a stroke. They found that these cells were easily integrated into the rats’ brains and improve brain function that had been damaged by the strokes. These neurons were then transplanted into the brains of human stroke patients in a clinical study to discover their effectiveness. The study found that while the cells survived and had a few benefits, they ultimately had no significant effect on the brains of stroke patients. Research is still ongoing.
Fighting age-related frailty
Frailty is an age-related condition that is characterized by fatigue, weight loss, poor balance, loss of eyesight, weakness and low physical activity. It usually occurs in people aged 65 or over and leads to a sudden decrease in overall wellness.
A study by The Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute and Katz Family Division of Nephrology and Hypertension at the University of Miami tried to discover whether Mesenchymal Stem Cell Therapy has any effect on aging therapy. The study found that MSCs can help to reduce frailty by reducing inflammation which is a major cause of aging frailty. Also, they prompt tissue regeneration and cell repair through their differentiation capacities and anti-inflammatory properties. Ultimately, stem cell therapy, specifically done through MSCs can help to reduce the effects of inflammation and treat aging frailty effectively.
Repairing bones affected by osteoporosis and osteoarthritis
Osteoporosis is a condition that causes weak and brittle bones and increases a person’s susceptibility to falls and fractures. Osteoporosis has several causes including aging, hormonal changes, a diet low in calcium, overuse of steroid medications and conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and IBS.
A study by researchers from Johns Hopkins Medicine has found that stem cells known as perivascular stem cells that can differentiate into muscle or fat cells are effective in treating bone tissue that has been weakened by osteoporosis. These stem cells perform this function through the action of a protein known as the WISP1 protein.
Researchers conducted this study by injecting this protein into rats that had undergone spinal fusion. Spinal fusion is an operation that is conducted to alleviate pain by connecting two spinal vertebrae with a metal rod to enable them to fuse. For fusion to occur, thousands of bone cells must be produced. Researchers conducted this procedure and also, injected human cells with WISP1 protein into the rats’ spine. After four weeks, they found that new bone formed quickly and led to faster fusing. Researchers intend to use these findings to create stem cell therapies to aid faster healing from fractures and osteoporosis. (2)
Stem cells have also been found to have benefits for people suffering from osteoarthritis. This painful condition which occurs when knee cartilage breaks down and causes bones to rub against each other affects millions of people worldwide. Scientists have carried out clinical tests to find out whether mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) can regenerate cartilage tissue. A team from the Krembil Research Institute, University Health Network in Toronto, Canada extracted MSC’s from the bone marrow of test subjects suffering from osteoarthritis and re-injected these into their knees. Test subjects were given three injections over three months. The researchers found that the stem cells significantly reduced pain and brought down the inflammation that is a major contributor to osteoarthritis. Research is ongoing to discover whether stem cell therapy can cause the bone cartilage to grow again.
Stem cells have been proven to have numerous anti-aging benefits for both the elderly and other people in different age groups. Some of these benefits include; younger skin, treating degenerative neurological diseases, fighting age-related frailty and many others. Research on the benefits of stem cell therapy is ongoing and researchers hope to discover many more uses for stem cells that will improve human health and overall quality of life.