Published on: September 6, 2023

Stem cell therapy

Stem cell therapy

Why in news? The Delhi High Court permitted two children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to undergo stem cell therapy for treatment of their condition.


  • Ethics and Medical Registration Board (EMRB) of the National Medical Commission (NMC) is against the use of stem cell treatment for ASD.

What are stem cells?

  • Stem cells are special human cells that are able to develop into many different cell types that range from muscle cells to brain cells.
  • In some cases, they can also fix damaged tissues.

What are the category of stem cell?

There are two main categories of stem cells:

  • Pluripotent stem cells : They have the ability to undergo self-renewal and to give rise to all cells of the tissues of the body.
  • Adult stem cells: They are tissue or organ-specific and regenerate to form cells only of that particular organ.

How are stem cells used in medicine?

  • Regenerative properties of stem cells helps in instructing stem cells to differentiate in a certain way, and could use them to grow a specific tissue type or organ.
  • Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation has been used to treat people with conditions such as leukaemia and lymphoma. healthy stem cells are introduced to replace damaged cells.

What is autism spectrum disorder and how is it treated?

  • Autism spectrum disorder is a neurological and developmental disorder that affects how people interact with others, communicate, learn, and behave.
  • Currently, there is no cure for ASD. Conventional therapies include social skills training, early intensive behaviour therapy, applied behaviour analysis, speech therapy, and occupational therapy are used as treatment.
  • The use of stem cell therapy to treat autism is very much at an experimental stage.