Therapeutic effects of stem cells in different body systems, a novel method that is yet to gain trust: A comprehensive review

Bosn J Basic Med Sci. 2021 Jul 13. doi: 10.17305/bjbms.2021.5508. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Stem cell therapy has been used to treat several types of diseases, and it is expected that its therapeutic uses shall increase as novel lines of evidence begin to appear. Furthermore, stem cells have the potential to make new tissues and organs. Thus, some scientists propose that organ transplantation will significantly rely on stem cell technology and organogenesis in the future. Stem cells and its robust potential to differentiate into specific types of cells and regenerate tissues and body organs, have been investigated by numerous clinician scientists and researchers for their therapeutic effects. Degenerative diseases in different organs have been the main target of stem cell therapy. Neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's, musculoskeletal diseases such as osteoarthritis, congenital cardiovascular diseases, and blood cell diseases such as leukemia are among the health conditions that have benefited from stem cell therapy advancements. One of the most challenging parts of the process of incorporating stem cells into clinical practice is controlling their division and differentiation potentials. Sometimes, their potential for uncontrolled growth will make these cells tumorigenic. Another caveat in this process is the ability to control the differentiation process. While stem cells can easily differentiate into a wide variety of cells, a paracrine effect controlled activity, being in an appropriate medium will cause abnormal differentiation leading to treatment failure. In this review, we aim to provide an overview of the therapeutic effects of stem cells in diseases of various organ systems. In order to advance this new treatment to its full potential, researchers should focus on establishing methods to control the differentiation process, while policymakers should take an active role in providing adequate facilities and equipment for these projects. Large population clinical trials are a necessary tool that will help build trust in this method. Moreover, improving social awareness about the advantages and adverse effects of stem cell therapy is required to develop a rational demand in the society, and consequently, healthcare systems should consider established stem cell-based therapeutic methods in their treatment algorithms.

Publication types

  • Review