The use of stem cells in treatments dates back as early as the 1950s, where five individuals who have experienced a critical accident received bone marrow transplants. However, in recent years, aside from stem cell therapy, stem cell-derived drugs were also introduced in the medical community. Since then, doctors, researchers, and the world have never stopped believing in this medication’s potential and current applications. In fact, in the latest forecast, stem cell therapy’s global market was valued at around 755 million and is projected to go up to 11 billion by the year 2029. In this article, the following sections will discuss what stem cell drugs are and how these can lead to better medicines in the future.
What Are Stem Cell Drugs?
As the name suggests, stem cell drugs are medicines based on stem cells. Unlike stem cell therapy, where the typical applications are through direct injections to specific body parts, this method allows easier access to stem cell benefits similar to taking common medications. Apart from that, unlike the former, it has a more consistent quality and effect on patients, given that manufacturers can particularly control and make similar versions of these drugs. Also, since the government considers it a drug, such products will follow the GMP or Good Manufacturing Practice guidelines of the FDA, making it a more reliable option for most people, especially those indecisive ones. In other words, stem cell therapy (both allogeneic and autologous) belongs to medical devices classification, while stem cell drugs are actual drugs according to established terms and the government.
Better and safer medicine testing
Apart from being a medicine itself, stem cells can also help in developing new drugs better and safer. First, unlike using rats and other similar subjects for testing substances in labs, utilizing actual cells from stem cells could provide in-depth information about a drug’s effects on the body. Thankfully, it’s possible to reprogram stem cells to become other cells, making developing drugs for specific body parts easier. Lastly, researchers, along with companies like Umbrella Labs can’t assert the importance of the testing stage enough. However, as stem cells are technically from humans, there should be a decrease in the early need for live subjects, leading to safer medicine creation processes in the future.
Biased signaling discoveries
A recent study from the Department of Biomedical Sciences of the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, yielded new information regarding biased signaling. Biased signaling is the knowledge or idea about how medicine and treatments affect the cell pathways. Regardless, in this discovery, researchers learned that drugs could alter how the cellular receptors behave, influencing drug effectiveness and the body’s stem cell production. In the future, this discovery might help researchers develop medicines that can treat illnesses better and at the same time triggers the body to spread more stem cells which can help in boosting the immune system, faster recovery, or even eliminating the need for succeeding treatments.
Regenerative medicine specializes in solutions that repair or replace damaged tissues, organs, and cells and restore body functioning. Unlike other methods, nothing comes close to the applicability and benefits of stem cell drugs and therapy in this area. As such, since stem cells already helped successful organ creations in the past, researchers likely already have an idea and basis of how useful and suitable these things are for such purposes. Additionally, as there are few to no artificial substances involved, stem cell drugs can provide safer and more natural regenerative medications for patients.
What’s Next For Stem Cell Drugs’ Medicinal Applications?
Indeed, stem cell drugs offer promising benefits and applications for treating various diseases and abnormalities. However, aside from that, these things also provide more ways and possibilities for researchers to develop and test medicines. Accordingly, in the coming years, manufacturers and institutions might incorporate these special cells in their existing drugs and offer stem cell therapy as an alternative to several treatments. Above all, stem cells and derived products can accelerate and improve the discovery and production of new medicines while reducing the early need for human or live subjects.