Lately, stem cells and stem cell therapy have received many news coverage and some of them are quite controversial. However, it is still important to understand about stem cell in general and the several approaches to stem cell therapy. Before we proceed to stem cell therapy, we must first understand stem cell itself. So, a stem cell is defined as an undifferentiated cell that can return to itself and develop into at least three different types of tissues.
The Various Types of Stem Cells
There are many different categories of stem cells, this include allogenic, autologous and xenogenic. Analogenic stem cells refer to those that came from a donor of the same species. Because the stem cells do not have the standard surface markers that can spark an immune response, there is no need to worry about rejection by the host tissue. When we say autologous stem cells, it refer to those cells that obtained from the same animal. These type of cells are good for transplanting since there is no problem about them being rejected. Meanwhile, xenogenic stem cells refer to those that came from a donor of another species, for example a pig. Despite that is it expected that these type of cells are to be rejected when injected into another species’ body, there are some cases in which they survive because they have a certain unique characteristics.
How Do Stem Cells Function?
The most popularly cited function of stem cells is their ability to differentiate into different tissues, but they have other abilities that are very helpful for healing. Stem cells help get other local and systemic cells to focus on mending damaged tissue.
If there are any chemical, mechanical and neural changes, the tissue then sends signal that can trigger the stem cells to move into an area. Some examples that can trigger stem cells are inflammation and hypoxia, the stem cells then target the injury. Only about half of the new tissues formed are because of the stem cells, and the rest are done by those recruited cells. This is the very reason why only a tiny injection of stem cells is needed. Injecting a large number of stem cells into an injured are can intervene with healing, because some of the injected cells die and must be removed during the process of healing.
Applying Stem Cell Therapy in Horses
The repair of ligament injuries in horses show the most promising. It is very hard to heal an injured ligament in a horse’s lower leg. The stem cells from the own fat of the injured horse can be immediately injected in the area of ligament injury to trigger the healing with less scarring.
Stem cell therapy has a big potential and should be considered as a healing treatment for organ damage. Moreover, systemic stem cell therapy shows promise in treating neurological conditions.