Stem Cells in Spinal Cord Treatment

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BioMedical Mondays 016
By: Hamza Waheed

Stem Cells are a very controversial issue in science. The reason being is because of how they are originated. Stem cells are taken from human embryos. Once these cells are taken from the embryo, they can then be placed in part of another human beings body. When placed in that specific part, the stem cell will become differentiated, in other words, a specialized cell.  Stem cells are promising in brain treatment. Neurons are such that once they become destroyed, they can not be recovered. Stem cells can help with that because if they are placed in the brain, those cells will become differentiated into neurons. This is exactly what happened at Tel Aviv University in Israel, when researchers to successfully heal rats spinal cord injury.

At Tel Aviv University, the researchers took a rat that had spinal injury problems.  Because of the spinal cord injury issue, the rats could not walk and had problems relaying sensory information. But all of this changed when stem cells were introduced into the rats body.  Within 2-3 weeks, the rats regained the ability to walk and obtain sensory information. This discovery is important, because full recovery to spinal cord has not been possible in human history.  

Despite this discovery that excited the Israeli researchers, much work has to be done.  Doing such a test at the human level will take time. The researchers also say that they do not know how well such an experiment will work on a human's. This is the beginning of a promising area, that could advance health significantly. In the future, such a treatment will probably become reality.