There’s a very basic principle of economics that everyone needs to learn… and it relates to aplastic anemia in a way you might not expect.
It’s pretty straightforward. So straightforward that college freshmen taking Econ 101 learn it halfway through their first semester. Then, they tell their families and friends at Thanksgiving how the U.S. economy could be fixed if only the Department of Commerce was run by their professor.
The principle is, of course, supply and demand. (For some of us, this is the only part of economics that we understand.) This wonderful theory explains how prices can fluctuate, sometimes wildly, based on the available stores of a given product. Basically, the principle states that if there is more demand (consumers wishing to buy) than there is supply (commodity for sale), the price of each item goes up. If there is less demand than there is supply, the price of each item goes down.
For example, as the demand for gasoline continues to rise, and the supply of gasoline peaks and starts its inevitable decline, the price per gallon will continue to rise. Conversely, as the demand for pet rocks continues to decline and the supply remains high, the price per rock stays shamefully, but understandably, low.
The former scenario is the state of being when it comes to the current system of donated organs, blood, and stem cells. There are far more people in need of these life-giving donations than there are donated commodities. This state of affairs has created an environment with a void for technology to fill.
People with aplastic anemia and certain forms of leukemia may benefit.
Scientists in Scotland are working on developing a process of creating stem cells for transplant without a true donor. These stems cells come from proto-stem cells. That is to say the stem cells have the potential to become any sort of cell, but they don’t have the potential to become an organism.
Researchers were able to isolate, in a laboratory setting, the sequence of events that produced stem cells. By following that sequence, scientists hope that they will be able to create stem cells for donation.
If all goes well, the current state of supply and demand could tip the other way in the near future, to the benefit of everyone in need.
Read more about this exciting breakthrough by clicking here.