An Overview on the Biology of Stem Cells and Their Therapeutic Potential - Abstract
Hematopoietic stem cell therapy (HSCT) has been around for many decades now and has become a household entity in the field of medicine. It has certainly enjoyed some success in improving clinical outcomes for various blood-borne malignancies and disorders. The discovery of HSCT was subsequently followed by the realization of the fact that vast reserves of stem cell therapy are still untapped. Much of the research work being conducted during recent times has shifted the focus of stem cells towards their use in providing therapeutic benefits in other areas as well. This includes using stem cell technology in diseases involving cells which are unable to undergo regeneration and repair (e.g. cardiac, nervous system and skeletal muscle disorders), the advantages of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) in alleviating the need for immunosuppression, the field of regenerative medicine which reprograms cells for effective tissue repair, utilizing adult stem cells and molecules released by them, treatment of serious and sometimes fatal autoimmune diseases and understanding the role of cancer stem cells (CSCs) in pathogenesis of malignancies. This article focuses on these multiple aspects of stem cell technology which have great therapeutic potential and might as well be the next major breakthrough to completely revolutionize the future of medicine.