Stem Cells

by aylinnxo
Last updated 7 years ago


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Stem Cells

stem cells

What are they, where do they come from?



Stem cells are important for living organisms for many reasons. In the 3- to 5-day-old embryo, called a blastocyst, the inner cells give rise to the entire body of the organism, including all of the many specialized cell types and organs such as the heart, lung, skin, sperm, eggs and other tissues. In some adult tissues, such as bone marrow, muscle, and brain, discrete populations of adult stem cells generate replacements for cells that are lost through normal wear and tear, injury, or disease. Given their unique regenerative abilities, stem cells offer new potentials for treating diseases such as diabetes, and heart disease. However, much work remains to be done in the laboratory and the clinic to understand how to use these cells for cell-based therapies to treat disease, which is also referred to as regenerative or reparative medicine.

Stem cells are unique in the body because they can change into other types of cells. This means they have immense potential to enhance and extend life. Stem cells can replace cells that are lost or damaged by injury or disease. Under the right conditions stem cells can be developed and grown to form organs, bones, cartilage and tissue. They also have the ability to repair the immune system. stem cells come from embryos that are three to five days old. At this stage, an embryo is called a blastocyst and has about 150 cells.

Stem cell therapy has been used successfully thousands of times in countries around the world. Stem cells have been successfully used to grow replacement skin, tracheas and corneas. They have also been used to repair hearts after heart attack. It is widely believed that stem cell therapy may offer remedies for such conditions as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, juvenile diabetes, spinal cord injury, MS, ALS and certain forms of cancer

Stem cells are characterized by their ability for self-renewal (i.e., maintaining their undifferentiated state during several rounds of cell division), and their potency (i.e., the ability to differentiate into specialized cell types). The two main stem cell types are embryonic stem cells (ES) cells and adult stem cells (i.e., somatic stem cells). Other types, such as induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), are produced in the lab by reprogramming adult cells to express ES characteristics.

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By: Aylin White