Transplanted stem cells have been used as regenerative therapies for decades. In cancer, for example, they can restore the body’s ability to create the red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets after chemotherapy.
But stem cells have wider therapeutic potential. In theory they can be reprogrammed to regenerate tissues damaged in diseases ranging including type 1 diabetes, Parkinson’s, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and Alzheimer’s.
Despite this potential, to date only one stem cell therapy—the ocular burns treatment Holoclar—has been approved by a major regulator.