Question: what are the benefits and pitfalls of stem cell procedures?

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  1. Great question desi1188.
    To tell you the truth, as with many other surgical procedures things can go wrong! This having been said, bone marrow transplantation is the most common and safest stem cell procedure that’s currently being done. There are a lot of other stem cell treatments that show promise, but none are as tested and “safe” as bone marrow transplantation.
    So the benefits of stem cell treatments are obvious. Stem cells can theoretically be used to cure or prevent things like brain injury, spinal injury, heart damage, deafness, blindness etc etc etc. How stem cells work is as they have the “potential” to form a range of different cells, once injected or directed to a particular site, they can then repopulate the necessary cell types and “fix” the problem.
    The issue is, are they safe?!?! When you’re introducing these “stem cells”, you’d hope that they are only real stem cells, and that they don’t somehow travel to another area. The purification of “stem cells” and the delivery method to direct them are what we need to get better at.
    Bone marrow transplantation is a fairly safe procedure (minus the fact that complications from surgery always can come up!). Others, not so much!

    Hope that makes sense and helps 😀


  2. Wow, stem cells are really exciting, and i think they will be the most exciting thing to happen in science in the next 10 years.

    I think in the next 10 years, we will see people getting stem cell treatments for all kinds of different problems.

    I know that they are testing experimental stem cell therapies for stroke and brain injury right now (i think all the experiments are in mice, but if they work we would certainly be able to test them on humans). They are taking mice who have had a brain injury, and injecting the stem cells to see if they can form new brain cells (which we call neurons) and repair the brain injury! It’s really amazing science!

    The benefits of these procedures are that we might be able to repair injuries (brain injuries, spinal cord injuries) that we once couldn’t, and hopefully soon.

    The pitfalls are that we probably still don’t know enough, and we definitely need to do more testing to make sure that it’s completely safe. Because stem cells have the ability to turn into any cell type (we call this pluripotent) its really important that we know they will turn into the right cell type before we use them!