Much of popular conversation around stem cells focuses on the
future: We dream of stem cells transforming treatments, defeating
disease and ultimately changing health care as we know it.
Many are unware that we don't have to wait for a future yet realized.
Stem Cells have already been doing exactly this for decades.
Bone- marrow and, more recently, umbilical- cord blood stem cell
transplants have changed the lives of patients with leukemia and
lymphoma. Breakthroughs in understanding stem cells have revealed
their potential to create cures or revolutionary treatments for blindness,
MS, heart disease, spinal cord injuries and rare diseases such as
Stiff Person Syndrome for which clincical trials are already happening.
Stem Cells represent a revolution in health care, but we're still in the
early days. Bone marrow stem cell transplantation has been curing some
kinds of cancer for decades, but in other potential areas we've barely begun scratching the surface.
Much work lies ahead. First, the tireless research that leads to breakthroughs in understanding. Then, the translation of those breakthroughs into practical clinical trials that may change the status of incurable diseases and conditions.