Age is an inevitable part of life, and at some point, we will eventually get old enough that we’ll need help from assisted living caretakers. Naturally, the aging process cannot be halted since our body’s ability to produce newer cells degrade as time goes by. However, it doesn’t hurt to dream that we might have the technology needed to slow down or even reverse the aging process at some point in the next few decades.
The idea of living an immortal life isn’t necessarily new: from Greek deities that do not age (or age slower than average humans) to mythical creatures like the Phoenix that will simply be “reborn” at the end of its lifespan. But the idea of becoming reborn or aging slower isn’t so far-fetched from what happens in real life. Like the phoenix, several organisms live in the ocean known for being “reborn” after the end of the life cycle. There are even immortal lobsters that basically live forever because the chemicals that can regenerate their tissue incredibly fast.
Fortunately, recent discoveries in microbiology have found a potential way of slowing down the stem cells’ aging process. Like a blank canvas, these cells don’t necessarily have an “identity” but will then become different types of cells.
But how is this exciting news? How can we harness stem cells to extend the lifespan of our species? We’ll answer some of the most highly misunderstood topics that the public is usually confused about.
What Are Stems Cells
Most of the time, these cells don’t really have any specific role to fill and can potentially fill in the role of different types of cells. The fact that stem cells can repair other tissues of the body that might be “permanently” damaged by the aging process means that it can slow down the aging process.
There are two types of stem cells, and both have their own unique properties:
- Embryonic stem cells
- Adult stem cells
As the name suggests, embryonic stem cells are from the early stages of cells’ development within the blastocyst stage. Since they’re basically within the most initial stage of cell development, they don’t really have a role and can be assigned to any cell type. In contrast to this, adult stem cells are quite rare but still don’t have a full part to play within the body. These cells are present in adult tissues, but at considerably lower numbers than embryonic cells.
But there are more unique traits to stem cells. This includes the following:
- They can replicate then regenerate themselves in an extended period.
- Do not have a specific role within the body.
- They can be placed at any part of the body, which makes them excellent for parts that might suffer from permanent cell damage forms.
If your research institution is looking for the right equipment to test and experiment with stem cells and other microorganisms, most experts would advise investing in incubator lab equipment for research. Keeping specimens within a controlled environment can help ensure that cultures of cells, tissues, and microorganisms are within the right condition. When it comes to testing cells and tissues, mitigating any chance of cross-contamination while also keeping specimens in the right condition is paramount for good results.
What Has Stem Cell Research Done For Us?
The majority of medical practitioners and doctors are quite excited about the prospects that stem cells have in different medical research areas. Not only are stem cells integral in eliminating serious health complications, but they can also shed some light on birth defects and even cancer.
Some would suggest that stem cells will one day help fight diseases related to old age, such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Bone loss and injury in the spin, Chronic Heart Disease, and Diabetes.
The research on stem cells is a long and winding road and will usually encompass a lot of health issues and not just a person’s lifespan. But one thing is certain: stem cells have a variety of potential uses for the body. There’s still more that needs to be covered on this matter, but most scientists are optimistic that this can be used for future scientific endeavors.
One day, stem cells may be used to effectively slow down the aging process by halting some of the most severe diseases that have plagued mankind. But as of this moment, we will need to work hard together towards a common goal, not just as a nation or demographic but also as a species.