Stem cells have the potential to revolutionize the treatment of human disease. Scientists and researchers have been working diligently to unlock the potential of stem cells and significant strides have been made in the less than 15 years since the discovery of a method to grow and replicate human stem cells. Stem cells allow scientists to study human development (and how it could go wrong), develop better and safer drugs and offer potential treatments for devastating diseases and injuries.
#1: Stem cells are “master” cells that have the ability to grow into any one of the body’s more than 200 cell types, including brain, blood, pancreas and heart cells.
#2: Stem cells can reproduce into red cells that carry oxygen throughout the body, white cells for fighting infections and platelets that create clots and prevent excessive bleeding.
#3: Stem cell research is predicted to improve treatment options for incurable conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injuries, among many others.
#4: Scientists are conducting stem cell studies to develop cures for the more than 1.3 million Americans that suffer from spinal cord injuries. This is highly significant because no other form of treatment or drugs have been able to restore function for patients with paralysis.
#5: Stem cells can self-renew. They are capable of replenishing themselves for long periods of time. Through natural division, one Petri dish can hold up to 5 million pluripotent stem cells meaning scientists can create normal human cells in large scale for the first time in human history.
“This is a critical and historic time for stem cell research,” said , director, Sue & Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center, UC Irvine. “We’re literally on the brink of developing new treatments for countless life-threatening illnesses and debilitating injuries, and raising awareness about this research is one of the best things people can do to help accelerate the process.”
There are several research programs taking place at the at UC Irvine that continue to break down barriers and open doors to new treatments for major diseases and injuries including Alzheimer’s Disease. An estimated 35 million people worldwide suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, five million of whom live in the U.S. , Ph.D., director of UC Irvine’s Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders, and , Ph.D. of the Sue & Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center, UC Irvine, have shown potential treatment in humans. Their work with stem cells is expected to move to clinical trials within five years.
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