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Why so many people are investing their money into stem cell research

Since the late ‘90s, stem cell research has been generating buzz consistently. Stem cell research dominates the news cycle every time it comes back into the public eye — not only for its potential to fundamentally change modern healthcare but for its controversial aspects as well. Stem cell research has seen a boom in investment in recent years, but why exactly are large corporations just now deciding to invest their hard-earned capital in stem cell research?

Continued Innovation

One reason that stem cell investments are on the rise is the fact that stem cell research has finally begun to yield accessible consumer products and services through continued innovation. A growing number of stem cell donors, improved stem cell banking facilities have allowed for increased research and development, which has propelled the market and driven its growth. Companies see the potential in this and have developed products and services to combat severe burns and deteriorated joints or spinal discs.

Stem cell research continues to make reliable progress, and there is enough space in the market to accommodate serious growth. Companies are able to continually innovate stem cell-based treatments as our understanding of directed differentiation, or how exactly a stem cell becomes a different type of cell, grows. Eventually, scientists will be able to direct a stem cell to become any type of cell they choose, even brain cells, which would revolutionize Alzheimer’s treatment, among many other applications.

The use of stem cells as a cure for chronic diseases is certainly attractive to investors. Degenerative diseases could potentially be halted in their tracks, and diseases that attack the nervous system might one day become a thing of the past thanks to stem cells. With such potential to extend and enhance a person’s quality of life, stem cells are becoming an ever more sound investment as companies recognize that, once these treatments become available, anyone who can afford them will be clamoring to buy them.

Rapid Advancement

Research on stem cells continues to advance rapidly, with companies using them to engineer age-reversing treatments. Everything from hair regrowth to wrinkle treatments and the regeneration of cartilage in osteoarthritic people has been promised, though without proper testing and government approval, these remain simple promises. More tangible research comes in the form of stem cell treatment for people with cardiomyopathy, as implanted stem cells have been shown to improve heart function and can act as a viable treatment for the condition. Stem cell treatment has even been used to help car accident victims regain movement after becoming paralyzed.

While it is always wise to approach new technology and medical advancements with measured optimism. When corporate powerhouses like Johnson & Johnson begin investing in stem cell research, it can understandably be hard to remain patient. With investment fiascos like Theranos, the company that promised a miracle machine that could run 90 percent of current blood tests that never was, companies are right to show some reluctance when investing into the world of developing healthcare technologies. However, unlike Theranos, stem cell research is very much real and has trackable, tangible results.

There are two types of stem cells: adult stem cells, which are limited in their ability to differentiate and become different specialized cells, and somatic cells, which are more capable of becoming any different type of cell needed. Somatic cells are generally harvested from human embryos, making their use more difficult because of availability and moral implications. However, recent developments have begun to crack the code on turning adult stem cells back into the more versatile pluripotent cells, making the stem cell research market that much more attractive to investors.

High Potential

Stem cell research exhibits an immense amount of potential, both as an investment opportunity and as a way to improve the quality of life for millions of people. While we have seen countless cryptocurrencies pop up and then disappear just as quickly as they arrived, stem cell research has real staying power as long as it is allowed to keep advancing. An investment into stem cell research now could very well be comparable to an investment into Apple in the ‘80s, with the potential to expand and dominate the world of healthcare.

Unfortunately, not everyone sees the massive potential in embryonic stem cell research and several groups are putting the research into jeopardy. Despite the fact that stem cells could be successfully used to treat several neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s diseases, many pro-life activist groups protest against the research, believing that aborted fetuses are the source of embryonic stem cells. However, though this is a popular belief, it is incorrect. Embryonic stem cells are harvested from unused embryos developed for in vitro fertilization and donated for research, which would have been discarded otherwise.

Pushback from conservative groups is the largest issue facing stem cell research aside from the availability of embryonic stem cells. It is the scientific community’s duty to calm the fears of the masses and turn the national discussion of stem cell research towards the positive in order for it to truly flourish. Luckily, in a world of ever increasing digital healthcare and savvy patients, people are more likely to see the bigger picture when it comes to stem cell research and its potential for both business and healthcare. Stem cell research remains a sound investment, and despite efforts to stop its progress over the years by ill-informed conservative groups, it has continued to make remarkable advancements. Soon, stem cell therapies will be synonymous with healthcare at all levels once researches unlock the secrets of converting adult stem cells into a more versatile pluripotent form. Investing in stem cell research now is not just good for business, but for humanity as a whole.

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