What is a stem cell?
Stem cell is the progenitor cell that can renew itself infinitely, and can transform into different cells.
Cells that carry the specific characteristics of organs and tissues are needed for forming of our organs and tissues. These different types of cells come from transformation of undifferentiated cells (stem cells).
Stem cells in mammalians can be divided into two categories. Embryonic stem cells are the stem cells in the newly developing embryo. And, somatic stem cells fix any damage in the body. For example, in a case of a damage in the lungs, stem cells help to healing process.
The number of stem cells is maximum before birth, and decreases as we get older.1
Where the stem cells are?
Stem cells are most intensively in the bone marrow 2, and can be obtained from bone marrow, blood, or umbilical cord for using in the treatment of diseases.3
In the treatment of which diseases can the stem cells be used?
Medical science has been focusing on stem cells in recent years, and research continues in basic and clinical sciences. The main diseases that can be treated currently with cord blood stem cells are:
- Bone marrow diseases
- Inherited blood diseases
- Immune deficiencies
- Congenital metabolic disorders. 4
What is stem cell transplantation?
Stem cell transplantation means transplantation of stem cells to a patient, in whom the bone marrow is discharged completely or partially. Healthy stem cells can be obtained from patient itself, or from a healthy donor. Stem cells can be taken from bone marrow, blood or cord of the babies, and then transported. Doctor decides which method to be used according to type of the disease and patient’s current status.
Stem cells can be taken from a member of patient’s family who has tissue compatibility, or someone else who has tissue compatibility with the patient. 5 Stem cell banks are being established for donors. People can apply to be a donor by giving blood samples to red crescent. After analyses, the Ministry of Health keeps the information and contacts donor if a match is identified, and stem cells are transported to the patient.6
Who can apply for a stem-cell donor?
Healthy individuals between 18-55 years of age, minimum 50 kg, or body mass index below 40 can be donors.7
Who cannot be a donor?
- Previously rejected donation in blood bank
- Previous history of Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and Syphilis
- HIV (AIDS) infection carriers
- Cancer patients
- Individuals with chronic diseases
- Individuals with drug, alcohol, substance addiction
- Individuals with a previous history of organ or tissue transplantation
- Individuals with blood, vessel, and coagulation disorders
- Individuals with auto-immunity disorders
- Individuals with respiratory diseases
- Individuals with mental disorders and central nervous system diseases
- Individuals with endocrine gland disorders. 8
This text is prepared from the resources below. Any information in the text is a substitute of doctor or pharmacist recommendations.