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Question
Posted by: Miley | 2009-09-23

What can it really cure?

I' ve read about the wonders of stem cell research, and even in its infancy, some great discoveries have been made.

My question is, how many diseases right now is Stem cell therapy guaranteed to cure? Also, what timeframes are we looking at in order to for stem cell therapy to become a general practice?

Reason being, I am bombarded with flyers telling me to save my baby' s cord cells, but I wonder whether this is worth it when perhaps only in 50 years time will this therapy actually reach the mainstream and be beneficial to my child.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageStem Cell Guest Expert

Stem cell therapy is already part of routine medical practice. Bone marrow transplantation, which relies on the ability of transplanted stem cells to reform the body's blood components (red cells, white cells and platelets), has been used successfully to treat many diseases for the past 50 years. These diseases fall under three categories: cancer, blood disorders and genetic disorders. These three categories may overlap. Several other procedures which are currently used to treat skin and bone defects (burns, non-healing fractures) also rely on stem cells to do the work, and these procedures have been performed successfully for many years. All of the above constitute what I refer to as the "current reality" of stem cells.

Contrasted to this are all the other settings in which stem cells are likely to have a therapeutic effect. These include heart disease, diabetes, spinal cord injury, etc. This falls into the category of the "future promise" of stem cells. It is not part of current medical practice, but is likely to be used in the not too distant future. It is not possible to predict a definite timeline for this.

With regard to the storage of cord blood stem cells, I refer you to my response to question number 2 on this forum. Please note that there are a limited number of uses for stored cord blood stem cells at present, be they for the baby who donated the cells or for the family. Cord blood stem cell storage forms part of what I refer to as the "future promise" of stem cell therapy. Assuming the promises of regenerative medicine are fulfilled, the stored stem cells may one day be useful for these procedures.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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