Stem Cells - Curing Parkinson's

A Possible Solution - by Kathleen Beben and Dakota Gerges

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What is a Stem Cell?

Stem cells are cells that have not yet gone through the process of differentiation to become specialized cells. They are able to become and develop into any type of cell in the human body. Stem cells can be the solution and cure to many diseases.

Where do they come from?

Stem cells can be derived from four to five day old embryos, from embryonic umbilical cells and some from adult organs. Those cells obtained from an embryo are most potent, meaning that they can develop into almost all types of cells in the body. The later the stem cells are obtained in a embryo's life, the less potent the cells are. The stem cells obtained from adults, are therefore the least potent, yet still have the ability to develop into many types of cells.
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Stem Cells and Parkinson's Disease.

Parkinson's Disease is caused by loss of nerve cells in the brain that control the production of dopamine which is a chemical that helps control movement and and mood. There is currently no cure, but stem cells may provide an opportunity for health in those who suffer from the disease.

"Researchers working with laboratory rats show it is possible to make dopamine cells from embryonic stem cells and transplant them into the brain, replacing the cells lost to the disease." Researches say that human trials with this treatment is predicted to be available in 2017, but the progress and achievements made with the laboratory rats is phenomenal. Soon, this treatment will be able to treat and possibly cure Parkinson's.

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Problems With Stem Cells.

Although the potential of stem cells is so great, some may argue about the ethical issues involved. In order to obtain embryonic stem cells, the embryo's life will be lost. "In the United States, laws prohibit the creation of embryos for research purposes." Many argue that no matter how early in a child's life, even at the stage of an embryo, that the life is valuable.

This though, can be overcome with the new discoveries in technology. Scientists now can manipulate adult cells to act like stem cells. Adult stem cells derived from organs such as bone marrow and the stomach can also be of use in situations of stem cells need. These cells are not able to become all types of cells because of their development but rather can differentiate into many types of cells.

Another option that has recently been implemented is the 'freezing' of umbilical cord blood to preserve the stem cells found there. Those who choose this option may use the stem cells if their child develops a disease such as multiple sclerosis, a spinal cord injury, Parkinson's disease, heart disease and about 80 of other life threatening diseases.

Stem Cell Research Center

Join the Stem Cell Research Center in discovering more cures with stem cells and making advances with Parkinson's research. Make a donation or call today!