How Is Your Health?

How Do Stem Cells Work?

by Camila Davidson

Stem cell therapy is increasing in popularity for its natural approach to repairing damage to the entire body. But there are still a lot of people who don't know much about stem cells and how they really work. If you're uncertain yourself, then check out this simple guide that explains what you need to know.

What They Do

Stem cells are a special type of cell within your body. They can be found in lots of places; your bones, your blood, and even your organs.

What makes stem cells unique from, say, skin cells or red blood cells is that they don't have one centralized purpose. Red blood cells carry oxygen, and skin cells make up your skin. But stem cells are like unprogrammed cells that aren't designed to do anything at first. However, when stem cells come into contact with damaged cells, they start to replace them by converting themselves into the same type of cell that's damaged.

Why They Don't Heal Your Whole Body Naturally

You might be wondering that if stem cells are so wonderful as to be able to do that, why don't they just heal the entire body naturally?

The simple answer to this is that they aren't present throughout the body. Stem cells in the bones typically grow into new bone marrow or bone cells, while organ stem cells can replace old parts of the organ that aren't functioning as well as they used to. But typically speaking, there aren't enough stem cells to replace everything, and they aren't located in the entire body. To make matters even more complicated, some stem cells are more mature than others, which means that they can't convert into everything the way that newer stem cells can.

How They're Utilized

The good news is that science can step in where the stem cells naturally fail and pick up the pieces.

By extracting stem cells from your body, these stem cells can be effectively reprogrammed. After being extracted, scientists expose them to the type of cell that needs to be built. For example, if you need help with your knees, your scientist might use a bit of knee cartilage to start converting the cells. Alternatively, a portion of an organ could be used to reprogram the stem cells so that they repair organ damage.

Once the stem cells have been converted, then they're inserted back into the appropriate areas of the body. This is done with either an injection or surgery depending on where they're going to be used. Just like that, the stem cells will replace old dying cells and will help to rebuild the body from the ground up.