Stem cells offer a great deal of promise in the successful treatment of cancers like leukemia.
What Exactly is Leukemia?
White blood cells, which are called leukocytes, are the target for a type of cancer known as Leukemia. Just as with all other blood cells, the leukocytes in the body come from somatic stem cells. When mature leukocytes are released to the bloodstream, they work hard at their job of fighting off infections within the body.
When leukocytes begin to show signs of abnormal function and growth, this is an indication that they have become cancerous with Leukemia. Abnormal cells do not have the ability to fight off infection. Even worse, leukocytes that do not develop and work properly interfere with the functions of the other organs in the body.
In order for treatment of Leukemia to be successful, it is crucial that all of the abnormal leukocytes within the patient’s body are eliminated. Once the abnormal cells are gone, new healthy cells will be able to develop to take their place through stem cell therapy.
Treating The Disease
One method that is often used to rid the patient’s body of the abnormal cells is chemotherapy. Chemotherapy involves the use of strong drugs that kill off the abnormal cancerous cells. In cases where the cancer is not eliminated completely through chemotherapy, the next step is to move forward with bone marrow transplants, which essentially is a form of stem cell therapy.
A bone marrow transplant involves taking healthy bone marrow from a matching donor and using stem cell therapy to replace the bone marrow stem cells that were killed by previous treatments.
To prepare for a bone marrow transplant, all of the present bone marrow must be removed in addition to the killing of the abnormal cells. This is typically accomplished through a combination of radiation and chemotherapy. Then, stem cell therapy involves taking the bone marrow with the healthy stem cells from the matching donor and putting it into the bloodstream of the Leukemia patient.
If the bone marrow transplant and stem cell therapy is successful, the healthy stem cells will then migrate into the bone marrow where it will begin to produce new healthy leukocytes to take the place of the abnormal cells that were removed.
Even More Possibilities with Bone Marrow Stem Cells
According to new research related to stem cell therapy, bone marrow stem cells show promise of being able to differentiate into other cell types to make up tissue outside the blood, including muscle and liver. Scientists are working hard to discover more and more uses for stem cell therapy that goes well beyond just curing the diseases of the blood.
If you or someone you love is suffering from Leukemia, you are in luck. Today, the possibility of finding a cure for Leukemia through the use of stem cell therapy is more of a reality than was ever before believed possible. Take the time to talk to your ecologist or health care professional to find out the possibilities that stem cell therapy has in store for you.