Restoring mobility with motor neuron cells
Stem Cell therapy has proven to be quite a useful remedy for several diseases such as spinal cord injuries, spinal cord disc degeneration, joint complications and more. Stem cells can simply be called blank cells with the ability to develop into any cell depending on how a specialist decided to transplant them.
Several studies have been done to find out if it is safe for both animals and humans and the results have never disappointed. Despite numerous controversies around it, stem cell therapy still comes out as one of the most reliable remedies for treatments of several ailments. Recently researchers and medical experts came to an agreement that the stem cell is an acceptable procedure for human treatment.
Some research was conducted on a mouse to find out if stem cell therapy would repair and replace damaged motor neurones known to deactivate muscle functionality and there was a hope that the results of the mouse study could also work for humans in the coming five years.
It has been noticed that motor neurone disease and spinal cord injuries in most patients’ leads to the inability to move some of their body parts as a result of damaged motor neurones whose main purpose is to transmit signals from your brain to your muscles.
The researchers had to use an elaborate procedure to ensure that it worked. Motor neurones were removed from the embryo’s stem cell and were enhanced with a survival gene. Removal of motor neurones enabled the stem cells to connect smoothly to the muscles as well a light sensor that allowed control of muscle activation by the light sensors. Application of light in this process can be likened to electrical stimulation familiar with several therapies.
Researchers implanted the motor neurones into the mice that were injured and realised that it restored its mobility. While this doesn’t lead to a conclusion, the research seems more promising for future.
What is the Controversy?
Several debates have been going on around the topic, specifically the use of motor neurone cells to restore mobility. Today’s researchers use mesenchymal stem cells to carry out such procedures. The mesenchymal procedure involves removal of the cell from a patient and then re-implantation of the cell into another part of the same patient’s body. Use of embryonic cells, on the other hand, has led to controversies due to several reasons.
One of them is that mesenchymal has proven to be beneficial for many applications but not replacement and regeneration of motor neurone cells. According to the study above, you can see that the researchers used the embryonic stem cells to restore the motor neurones in mice. What makes this an issue is the fact that the stem cells are obtained from the human embryo that is often destroyed after the procedure.
What makes this a debate is the fact that destruction of a human embryo is a threat to human life. As a result, there are a few who think that the procedure isn’t a good idea.
In defence of this process, proponents point out that the type of embryo used in the stem cell procedures is the leftover of the Vitro fertilisation procedures. In this procedure, after a woman has achieved her desired goal, she decides the fate of the remaining embryos that often end up in such proceedings.