A study of stem cells

Stem cell definition

Sign up now Stem cells: What they are and what they do Stem cells and derived products offer great promise for new medical treatments. If not properly directed, these stem cells may overgrow and cause tumors when injected into the patient. Such cells can construct a complete, viable organism. There are three types of stem cells: embryonic, umbilical cord also known as mesenchymal, or MSC , and adult stem cells. Stem cell therapy, also known as regenerative medicine, promotes the repair response of diseased, dysfunctional or injured tissue using stem cells or their derivatives. Unproven treatments present serious health, personal and financial considerations. Cord blood stem cells and amniotic fluid stem cells Cord blood stem cells are harvested from the umbilical cord after childbirth. This could bring back the specialized brain cells that stop the uncontrolled muscle movements. Neural stem cells are committed to the neuronal lineages neurons , astrocytes , and oligodendrocytes , and thus their potency is restricted. They are harvested during a process called in-vitro fertilization. Potency: the capacity to differentiate into specialized cell types. They can be frozen in cell banks for use in the future.

Scientists have learned to make certain specialized cell types through a multi-step processes using pluripotent stem cells, that is embryonic stem cells or induced pluripotent stem iPS cells.

Main article: Stem cell line To ensure self-renewal, stem cells undergo two types of cell division see Stem cell division and differentiation diagram.

stem cell research controversy

Scientists are already using stem cells in the laboratory to screen new drugs and to develop model systems to study normal growth and identify the causes of birth defects.

Since stem cells have the ability to turn into various other types of cells, scientists believe that they can be useful for treating and understanding diseases. Researchers are testing adult stem cells to treat other conditions, including a number of degenerative diseases such as heart failure.

Embryonic stem cells Embryonic stem cells come from human embryos that are three to five days old.

Stem cell research pros and cons

Induced pluripotent stem cells iPS Scientists create these in a lab, using skin cells and other tissue-specific cells. Until now, a person who needed a new kidney, for example, had to wait for a donor and then undergo a transplant. Potency: the capacity to differentiate into specialized cell types. By altering the genes in the adult cells, researchers can reprogram the cells to act similarly to embryonic stem cells. Scientists can use stem cells, or tissues grown from them, to search for new drugs that improve their function or alter the progress of disease, as well as to test how drugs might affect different organs for example, the liver or the kidneys , or how they might affect different people. Technicians then isolate the stem cells from the bone marrow for storage or donation. However, if iPSCs have the potential to develop into a human embryo, researchers could theoretically create a clone of the donor. For example, the blood-forming hematopoietic stem cells found in bone marrow regenerate the cells in blood, while neural stem cells in the brain make brain cells. Sign Up for e-mail newsletters Get breaking science news on monster snakes and dinosaurs, aliens, spooky particles and more! Neural stem cells are committed to the neuronal lineages neurons , astrocytes , and oligodendrocytes , and thus their potency is restricted. Scientists carefully review and replicate their work, and invite their peers to do the same.

Adult cells altered to have properties of embryonic stem cells induced pluripotent stem cells. Donating or harvesting stem cells People can donate stem cells to help a loved one, or possibly for their own use in the future.

Their potential is evident in the use of blood stem cells to treat diseases of the blood, a therapy that has saved the lives of thousands of children with leukemia; and can be seen in the use of stem cells for tissue grafts to treat diseases or injury to the bone, skin and surface of the eye.

They can then study these specialized adult cells in detail to try to discern complications of diseases, or to study cell reactions to proposed new drugs. In the strictest sense, this requires stem cells to be either totipotent or pluripotent —to be able to give rise to any mature cell type, although multipotent or unipotent progenitor cells are sometimes referred to as stem cells.

Blood disease treatments Doctors now routinely use adult hematopoietic stem cells to treat diseases, such as leukemiasickle cell anemiaand other immunodeficiency problems. Of all stem cell types, autologous harvesting involves the least risk.

A study of stem cells

While rare, muse cells are identifiable by their expression of SSEA-3 , a marker for undifferentiated stem cells, and general mesenchymal stem cells markers such as CD ESCs are pluripotent and give rise during development to all derivatives of the three germ layers : ectoderm , endoderm and mesoderm. Given their unique regenerative abilities, stem cells offer new potentials for treating diseases such as diabetes, and heart disease. Stem cells have also been found in amniotic fluid. Multipotent: These cells can differentiate into a closely related family of cells. Scientists are exploring the different roles tissue-specific stem cells might play in healing, with the understanding that these stem cells have specific and limited capabilities. Embryonic stem cells are known as pluripotent stem cells. Until recently, scientists primarily worked with two kinds of stem cells from animals and humans: embryonic stem cells and non-embryonic "somatic" or "adult" stem cells. This research has led to early-stage clinical trials to test usefulness and safety in people. At the neural tube stage, the anterior portion undergoes encephalization to generate or 'pattern' the basic form of the brain. In IVF clinics, the doctors fertilize several eggs in a test tube, to ensure that at least one survives. Adult stem cells. However, such research had to fit the following criteria: The harvesting process, which includes the destruction of the embryo, was started before 9 p.
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Stem Cell Research: Uses, Types & Examples