Stem cells started getting recognition over the last few decades because of the beneficial value that they were found to possess. These rudimental cells have the capacity to develop into many other types of cells in the body that bring about life and are instrumental in the continual growth of a person. A basic stem cell will either remain a stem cell or become a more specialized cell that has an entirely different function such as a red blood cell, neuron cell, or a muscle cell. The stem cell serves as an internal repair system where the cell will endlessly divide to renew other cells even if the cell has been inactive.
Scientists have studied the properties of stem cells for years to the see how they can use them for cell-based therapies to treat diseases with the use of regenerative medicine that contains stem cells. This type of treatment uses induced stem cells to differentiate into a specific cell type that will repair damaged or destroyed cells and tissues. Some conditions that have been treated with cell-based therapy are spinal cord injury, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, diabetes, and heart disease.
Another recent discovery that scientists are testing is how stem cells can affect someone that has an addiction. In a 2017 medical study, rats were tested with injections of mesenchymal stem cells that were administered into their cerebrum after they had high contents of alcohol in their system. With the cell-based therapy, the rats showed a major decrease in their consumption of alcohol. While this seemed to work with rats, intracerebral injections are not as easy for humans because mesenchymal stem cells are long thin cells with a large nucleus which makes administering the cells into the brain much more strenuous.
To correct this problem, scientists amassed mesenchymal stem cells into smaller shapes to reduce their size so that they could be intravenously injected into the body to reach the brain in an easier manner. Once the intravenous injection was ready, the scientists again tried it on the rats and they assessed that the rats decreased their alcohol intake by 90 percent.
The theory of using stem cells for addiction is to be able to repair the brain on the inside which is what addiction tends to deteriorate the most. As research progresses, cell-based therapy looks to become the next revolutionary treatment for addiction.
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