For decades, doctors have harnessed the unique ability of stem cells to treat leukemia and genetic blood diseases. But now, researchers are discovering that these cells have the power to heal, to fight disease, and to regenerate damaged or aging tissue throughout the body. To fully understand why they hold the potential to change your child’s medical future, get to know more about stem cells.
Ordinary cells in your body replicate to make new cells of the same type - blood cells make more blood cells, skin cells make more skins cells and so on. However, there is another type of cell, called a stem cell.
Stem cells are able to repair or replace damaged tissue. This is why scientists and doctors are so excited about the growing role of stem cells to treat disease, injury, and the deterioration of tissue due to aging. Amazingly, after our birth and into adulthood, we keep a store of these stem cells in certain parts of our body.
Different types of stem cells exist in different body tissues, and in varying concentrations. One of the most well-understood and widely researched types of stem cells is the mesenchymal stem cell.
Mesenchymal stem cells can form tissues such as bone, nerve, muscle, and blood vessels. They also help body tissue to repair itself, and they play an important role in healing by suppressing inflammation.
Though located in a number of places in the body, mesenchymal stem cells can be found in especially high concentrations in the healthy dental pulp of teeth.
Over time, even stem cells succumb to the environmental “insults” that age all of our cells. Freezing cells in a youthful state preserves their future ability to generate replacement tissue and heal the body.
All of these attributes make stem cells the cornerstone of the emerging field of treatments and therapies called Regenerative Medicine.
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