The controversy surrounding stem cell research has been one of the more divisive topics of debate in our culture. However, new discoveries have continued to prove how stem cell research can revolutionize the future of medicine.
Here are the latest developments in stem cell research.
A New Treatment For Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes remains one of the most prevalent and expensive diagnoses in the United States. Previously, people with this condition have survived by injecting synthetic insulin as prescribed, but this has posed a problem for patients with Type 1. The cost of insulin is dramatically higher in the United States than in other countries, even with insurance, leaving people with a burden with little options for respite.
However, recent developments in stem cell research have found a beacon of hope for America’s 1.6 million Type 1 patients. A research trial centered around one patient, Brian Shelton, found that stem cell-derived therapy could be an avenue to help patients produce their own insulin rather than relying on injections.
In the year before participating in the trial, Shelton suffered from five life-threatening hypoglycaemic episodes. Now, he might be the first person cured of this disease. Vertex Pharmaceuticals, who conducted the trial, published positive results 90 days after the first injection of the stem cell-derived therapy. Even more impressively, the patient was treated with half the targeted dose of the injection and still maintained these impressive improvements in stimulating insulin creation.
Although this first trial is not a final indication of the results to come, the potential benefits of this therapy could be life-changing for many. With a lot still to be explored, the lens of experts in medical research remains optimistic.
Research For Back Pain
Researchers are finding that stem cell-based therapies can be used to help those who suffer from chronic back pain and potential candidates for back surgery. Recent clinical trials have reported that patients have reported reduced back pain after a single injection of stem cells.
Researcher Professor Tony Goldschlager, who led this study, found that this therapy has the potential to restore the function of the discs and spine, preventing surgery altogether. Through trials, his team has discovered that stem cell injections reduce inflammation and stimulate regenerative processes that can replenish the damaged disc cells.
This study is ongoing, and Goldschlager still needs to prove its safety and efficacy before it’s approved for nationwide use. However, if it does prove to be a safe and effective solution, it could be a monumental treatment for those suffering from back pain and spinal cord injuries.
California Prop-14 To Fund Stem Cell Research
In 2020, California passed a law that allows taxpayer money to fund stem cell research, nearly two decades after President George W. Bush banned federal funding for this type of research during his presidency.
This type of research can be slow, requiring room for lots of trial and error, especially without state funding. However, California’s new budget for stem cell research could lead to patients with various life-threatening diseases such as cancer, Parkinson’s, macular degeneration receiving treatment far sooner.
This hasn’t stopped journalists, organizations, and other parties from opposing taxpayer funding of stem cell research. That being said, supporters of the bill look forward to a future with faster treatment for these medical conditions if the bill continues to raise more support. Inflation is not only hitting consumers, but research costs have ticked up accordingly.
New Developments on the Horizon
Because of the significant increase in funding towards stem cell research, researchers have made significant new discoveries on the positive impact these therapies can provide on patients suffering from various conditions. However, the work is far from over, and the world can expect far more new developments to come from this type of research in the future despite opposition from religious and political institutions.