Since the beginning of the new millennium, the interest in personalized medicine has greatly increased in the healthcare community. As we look to the future of what medicine can look like in 10 or 20 years from now, it’s becoming even more clear that giving patients tailor-made medicine can be a way to help treat their exact issues better. Though in the past it has been about creating medicines that patients are then sorted into, the new method involves creating and adapting the medicine around the patient’s needs.
At the forefront of this personalized medicine drive is stem cell therapy, a type of therapy that can help one’s body regain the materials it needs to fight off illness or injury. For example, if someone is dealing with organ failure, it is more practical and affordable to not simply replace the entire organ, but rather replace the parts that aren’t working to get the entire organ up and running again.
Typically the parts of an organ that aren’t working are the cells, making it important to utilize stem cells as a way of replacing cells so the body can then use the new cell to adapt and recover what has been lost.
What are stem cells, though? They are cells that are highly impressionable, making it easy for the body to “program” them according to what it needs. The benefit of this is that if you need cells in a certain area of your body, you can place stem cells there and have the body make use of them so they mimic the other cells in the surrounding area.
The notion of stem cell research sounds like a distant future, but it is already happening frequently in our society. In fact, the push for more stem cell research will make it possible to not only have more information available about how to use stem cells, but also make the practice itself accessible for a wider variety of people!
There are many things that we still must learn about cell therapy and its many uses. As of right now, stem cells represent a glimpse into what it means to truly personalize healthcare, a notion that will undoubtedly innovate the practice for decades to come!