Stem cells offer amazing possibilities for medical miracles, and researchers from around the world are comparing notes at the 2014 Global Stem Cell Summit, which begins today in San Antonio, Newsradio 1200 WOAI reports.
Researcher John McCarrey at UTSA says the promise of stem cells is their ability to help regenerate any part of our bodies.
"Somebody may have heart disease and may need cells in the heart," McCarrey said. "You can take these cells, because they are pluripotent, you can turn them into whatever kind of cell you need, to treat the partiular problem in the particular individual. They have all that power."
Researchers here will discuss the use of stem cells for treating Alzheimer’s Disease, paralysis, heart, kidney, and live diseases, and even using the cells to extend youthful beauty into old age and extend life itself.
"There just so many diseases and disabilities that stem cell treatments can help," said Tory Williams of the Alabama Institute of Medicine.
The three day conference will also talk with patients whose lives have been improved by pioneering stem cell research, and will also touch on the controversies. Many of the most effective stem cells are embryonic stem cells, and their use is considered 'human harvesting' by many groups.
"We can get the equivalent of embryonic stem cells from skin cells or blood cells," McCarry said. "The beauty is, nobody has any problem if we use skin cells or blood cells."
There will also be conferences on cord blood, which is the best source of strong stem cells because it is associated with a newborn baby. Stem cells degenerate as we age and cannot be replaced by the body.