Though there are many stem cell therapies that are being explored, bone marrow transplant is the only one which has been tried and tested, a noted scientist has said. Stem cell therapy is the use of stem cells to treat or prevent a disease or condition. Stem cells are undifferentiated cells of an organism which are capable of giving rise to indefinitely more cells of the same type, and from which certain other kinds of cells arise by differentiation.
“Most of the stem cell therapies like the ones which can successfully treat Parkinson’s disease and methods of ortho-reconstruction are in experimental stages,” noted cellular biologist Jyotsna Dhawan said in a special lecture on ‘Stem cells: Myths and Realities’ at the India International Centre (IIC) in New Delhi Friday evening.
Dhawan, a senior scientist at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad, said stem cells are a potential source of repair of other tissues and can be very useful in treating genetic and inherited diseases. She said stem cells are specially useful in treating genetic disorders associated with blood like haemophilia and thalassemia.
“But, major ethical issues arise when embryonic stem cells (cells taken from a foetus) are used for therapy,” she added. On the many myths associated with stem cells, Dhawan said: “All these myths stem from the hope that we are able to tackle many of these diseases through stem cells”.
Experiments are on to try and find cures for debilitating and terminal diseases like muscular dystrophy and cancer through stem cell therapy. (IANS)