Potential; that’s what—big potential. Stem cells are undifferentiated. Biologically speaking, this means they are not yet specialised, not yet directed to a particular purpose. In other words, they have no job. But the brilliant bit is that they are capable of many different jobs—of differentiating into any number of different cell types.
And if their differentiation can be directed—if they can be given a ‘job’—then stem cells can be leveraged where they are needed most in the human body to treat and prevent disease. But it’s not a matter of ‘if’ anymore. Scientists have, indeed, already begun to do this, and stem cells are now being used by physicians to address wide-ranging health issues, from autoimmune diseases to cancers and many more in between.
But there’s one caveat to all this—and this is where part of the controversy lies. Stem cells can be sourced from either tissue (in various forms) or from a four- or five-day old embryo. In the former case, there is no adverse effect on the donor; in the latter, the result is the destruction of the embryo. For those who regard the embryo as life, its wilful termination will likely be a point of moral contention.
However, for those seeking orthopaedic stem cell treatment through Medical Travel, this is a non-issue. Our partner clinic, Cellthera, harvests stem cells only from fat and connective tissue. As a leader in stem cell research and application, they are intimately acquainted with the healing power of stem cells and have been harnessing it to help connective tissue disease sufferers since 2010. It is a power that can be summed up in one word: potential.