Stem Cell Research Offers Ray of Hope to Stroke Victims
Latest research conducted by Stanford University in the area of human embryonic stem cells holds out a ray of hope for people suffering from stroke-induced physical disabilities. The study done on animals showed marked improvement when these cells were implanted and their physical condition studied for signs of recovery.
The study revealed that the new cells helped by releasing chemicals that created a more conducive environment for the animals to stage a recovery. These chemicals helped in the growth of new neural networks and in the formation of new blood vessels.
Prior to stem cells, no possibility of recovery was seen for stroke patients. However, use of human embryonic stem cells have made a big step possible towards their treatment. These cells have been discovered to have intelligence of their own. They can sense and physically adapt themselves into, say, brain, kidney or bone cells as per the requirement of the body.
Stem Cell research is a promising but new area of work for scientists. However there has been great opposition to it from anti-abortionists. Since the research involves live cells taken from aborted fetuses, they fear this may further promote unethical use of the practice.
Earlier there were also apprehensions as to the dangerous side effects that the treatment would expose patients to. Transplanted cells in the human body ran the risk of rejection and could become cancerous. They were also feared with causing fresh seizures on the body. But the current study allayed both these fears when the animals responded positively to the transplantation under the influence of immune-suppressant drugs.
But there is a lot more to be done. Like it may be a while before the research becomes meaningful for us. For that, scientists say, we will have to wait for about five more years.