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?
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
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
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,
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.
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
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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