Stem Cell Basics
There are numerous kinds to stem cells, including embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells, which have the potential to generate any cell type. Other varieties of stem cells, such as neural or mesenchymal stem cells, have more restricted potential to generate only a few related types of cells. Get the latest information on stem cell facts, research and treatments from the globally recognized authority, the International Society for Stem Cell Research. For more on U.S. policies regarding stem cell research, visit the National Institutes of Health Stem Cell Information page.
Stem Cell Therapies
Recent advances have generated a great deal of excitement about the possibility of using stem cells to treat conditions such as neurodegenerative diseases, autoimmune disorders, musculoskeletal defects and spinal cord injury. While cell-based therapies are a major goal of stem cell research, the availability of clinical data on the safety and efficacy of stem cell treatments is extremely limited. Responsible scientists and clinicians are continually working to identify appropriate cell types, delivery methods, safety controls and other aspects of stem cell biology for therapeutic purposes. A number of clinical trials are underway around the world, although many of these are at very early stages. For up-to-date information on clinical trials worldwide, visit clinicaltrials.gov.
On the other hand, enthusiasm over the possibilities of stem cell therapies has also led to the opening of clinics around the world offering treatments that have not been proven to be safe or effective. This has caused a phenomenon called stem cell tourism, in which patients seeking treatment travel domestically or abroad to clinics for unproven therapies. What is stem cell tourism?
Stem Cell Ethics
Several professional scientific authorities have weighed in on the ethical considerations of stem cell research. These include the National Academy of Sciences and the International Society for Stem Cell Research. In the United States, the policies of the President and the National Institutes of Health are informed by these ethical guidelines.