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What can stem cells be used for?

Stem cells are used in the treatment of several different diseases and ongoing research continues to delve into the possibilities of further stem cell-based treatments.

The most common and well-established use of stem cells as a medical treament is blood stem cell transplantation. These blood stem cells, taken from the umbilical cord, are used to treat a wide variety of blood related and immune disorders in both adults and children. This type of treatment can also be used as a way to restore the blood after certain cancer treatments have been undertaken.

It’s not just blood stem cells that are used though, skin stem cells have been used to create skin grafts for burn victims since the 1980s. Skin stem cells are used to grow new skin grafts for patients with severe third degree burns over large areas of their body and was one of the first medically sound treatments to use stem cells.

Stem cells can be used in the treatment of leukaemia in children, with blood stem cells used as an alternative or supplement to bone marrow transplants, as they are widely considered to be less likely to be rejected by the immune system.

Generally speaking, the stem cells taken from umbilical cords after the birth of a baby are only currently successfully used in the treatment of blood disorders and diseases, with skin stem cells being used to create skin grafts. Treatment with blood stem cells is often safer and more effective in children, who need only the stem cells of one cord while adults require the stem cells of two.

Stem cell research is ongoing and scientists and medical professionals are currently investigating the use of stem cells to treat a whole range of diseases and medical problems, including a stem cell treatment to repair the cornea after chemical burning or other trauma.