Long-time readers of this blog know that we love talking about all of the uses for cutting edge medical techniques we use, cosmetic or otherwise. We’ve already talked extensively about stem cells, how they’re sourced, and their use in our stem cell face lift treatment. Today, we’re going to take a look at some other uses for stem cells you might not have thought of – uses that are pretty far outside the norm. There are three stories, all recent news publications, that we’ll delve into:
The pet industry is experiencing explosive growth right around the same time as stem cell research is leading us to more viable uses and cultivation methods for stem cells. It’s no surprise, then, to see the two linked together in a new startup. Gallant, a pet health startup, offers a service where, when your pet is spayed or neutered, their stem cells are collected. This can be useful later in their lives if your pet ends up being afflicted by an illness that could be cured with regenerative medicine using stem cells. Given that most pets are spayed or neutered quite young, the stem cells are usually very viable. The company says the techniques they’ve used have already been shown to be effective. The cost is almost $1000, but worth it for avid pet lovers.
In other animal stem cell-related news, we may soon be using these miracle cells to bring a species back from the brink of extinction. The northern white rhinoceros is believed to be what’s known as “functionally extinct” – there are only two female members of the species alive that we know of and no male members. Fortunately, we have stem cells extracted from frozen tissue samples. We can, in theory, use these stem cells to create embryos which could then be implanted in surrogate mothers of the closely related southern white rhino species. Rhinos first, wooly mammoths next? Only time will tell.
The last story we’ve got for you is from a podcast. We’re very spoiler averse, so we won’t get into the details, just a quick summary. A bunch of patients in Texas were offered stem cell treatments for their problems – unfortunately, the batch of stem cells used wasn’t very high quality and ended up causing them illnesses. The podcast traced the batch down to a company more concerned with profit than with people. It’s called Bad Batch – check it out. We should note these problems will never come up in our clinic because we use your stem cells in our treatments. What’s more, we’re not interested in putting profit before your health and well-being.
We hope these three, diverse, current news stories give you a better idea about stem cells. They can be used in all kinds of ways, some good, some bad, some in gray areas. As a society, we must learn to grapple with these ethical issues, all while trying to move forward and help people with the best medical tools we have at our disposal. The conversation isn’t necessarily an easy one, but it’s well worth having.