As with all other stem cell research it’s still too early to say for sure that such treatments will help all patients, but as further studies are conducted methods are likely to improve. If the results so far are any indication, there’s real reason for optimism. The probability of full FDA approval being granted for age related stem cell therapy in the next 5 to 10 years is a real possibility.
Blood Stem Cells
Another promising study is exploring the idea of using blood stem cells to restore the health of the blood in older individuals. This study hasn’t reached the point of human trials yet, but they’ve had success in testing the procedure in mice.
As we age our hematopoietic stem cells deteriorate and this makes it harder for the body to fight of diseases such as cancer. A study at Weill Cornell Medicine has successfully replaced these cells in older mice with donor cells from young mice. The procedure doesn’t harm the young mice, but it does return the blood in older mice to a healthy state making then better able to fight off diseases.
Perhaps Aging Can Be Reversed
It remains to be seen whether we can extend the length of human life through stem cell therapy. There does seem to be strong evidence that we can reverse some of the effects of age related disease and degeneration though. The next few years will be critical in determining just how far we’ve really come.