Illustration: Peter Arkle
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Regrow Your Own
Because stem cells can grow into many different types of cells, they could be ideal tools for fixing a wide range of health problems. These "master cells" can now be readily harvested from your own skin and fat tissue; in ten years, they may be routinely used to treat anything from acne scarring to damaged heart muscle. There's also a great deal of promise for stem cell treatments in patients with chronic autoimmune diseases like type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.
What You Can Do Today
If you think you might be a candidate for stem cell therapy, ask your doctor about relevant clinical trials. Insurance companies typically consider most stem cell–based treatments experimental.