Promising treatments now in more than 35,000 clinical trials could have dramatic impacts on cancer, autoimmune diseases, organ replacement, heart disease, and even aging itself. These treatments, which are saving the lives of patients in the trials, will soon be rolled to the medical community at large.
The key to these breakthroughs is the use of living cells as medicine instead of traditional drugs. Research has found that our bodies are virtual treasure troves of adult cells that act as agents of remarkable healing and repair. These cells have been called adult stem cells because they resemble embryonic cells in their ability to transform into many other cell types but without the ethical and moral concerns of embryonic cells.
Adult cells can reprogram cells to work more efficiently. They can also carry edited genetic code to repair mistakes, and deliver targeted therapies, allowing them to address and even cure many diseases affecting children and adults.
The applications of these cellular therapies are broad and growing. Regenerative medicine allows doctors to repair injured and aging tissues and, incredibly, to create artificial body parts and organs in the lab.