Stem cells have been creating all the noise in the scientific field recently. But the public doesn’t know much about this. What stem cells are, what they do, and how big their potential ease in medicinal science
You probably heard of stem cells in several places online, on TV, and more. And health centers like Park International are also investing in the potential of the field.
Here’s what you need to know about stem cells and how far the medical field as progressed. In addition to how well the treatment can treat many serious diseases. You maybe also wondering why there is so much controversy around the topic.
What Are Stem Cells?
Stem cells are the undifferentiated cells in the body that act like organic matters in the body.
All the specialized cells that gain function in the body start at first as undifferentiated cells with no function.
Once the right conditions whether in vivo or in vitro ( in the body or in the laboratory) the cells divide and create daughter cells.
Daughter cells, depending on the environment and the needs of the body, can remain as stem cells or specialize.
When cells specialize they gain a function that is specific to the location they’re in. For example, they can become blood cells, brains cells, bones cells, and even muscle cells.
Stem cells are unique because they’re the only cells on the body who have the ability to generate new types of cells.
Where Do Stem Cells Come From
Stem cells have multiple sources from which they can originate:
1- Embryonic Stem Cells
These Cells that originate from embryos do so within 3-5 days from inception.
This early on, embryos are usually referred to as blastocysts that contain a total of 150 cells.
All 150 cells are pluripotent. In other words they have the ability to divide into any type of cell or even into stem cells.
Owing to the versatility of stem cells that come from embryos, they are the perfect sources for stem cells used in the treatment of ailed organs or tissues.
2- Adult Stem Cells
Adults have less versatile stem cells in comparison to embryos. And there are usually only limited sources that generate them. For instance, the bone marrow and fat.
And these stem cells aren’t capable of dividing into an infinite number of specialized cells.
In the past, science predicted a less broad activity of differentiation for adult stem cells. Like for example it was assumed in the past that stem cells in the bone marrow can only produce blood cells.
But it was later discovered that adult stem cells from the bone marrow can actually different into heart muscle cells. This means that adult stem cells have the ability to create many other types of cells. This versatility wasn’t expected of them initially.
The promising data has motivated research attempts that developed into clinical trials to evaluate the efficacy of this information in therapeutic medicine.
Mostly, the trials where focused on assessing the competence of adult stem cells in patients who suffer from neurological or heart disease.
3- Adult Cells With Embryonic Stem Cell Properties
One of the biggest achievements in the stem cell field was the ability to convert adult cells, that are fully matured and specialized into stem cells. This was made possible through genetic programming.
Genetic programming allows scientists to modify the genetic information in adult cells in such a way that mimics embryonic stem cells.
This is a monumental milestone, that can shape the way for stem cell therapy. Instead of relying on embryonic cells, which is largely unethical and highly controversial, scientists can use adult cells for experimental purposes.
Another benefit to turning adult cells into embryonic stem cells also eliminates hostile rejection from the immune system towards the stem cells.
The research and it’s results are still in preliminary stages and it’s not clear how well human patients may respond to altered adult cells. Whether there would be adverse effects or positive results is still ambiguous.
But for instance, among the promising incidents was a trail where scientists reprogrammed connective tissue cells to turn them into specialized heart cell.
And animals that have been injected with new heart cells, ones that are inflicted by heart failure, depicted significant improvements in both mortality rates and heart functions.
4- Perinatal Stem Cells
It was evident that stem cells are also present in both the amniotic fluid and the blood of umbilical cord.
Like regular stem cells, perinatal stem cells have the ability to specialize into various functions.
This discovery came about from amniocentesis, a test where pregnant women screen their fetuses for abnormalities. The samples in multiple occasions signified the presence of stem cells.
But further research is necessary to comprehend their potential.
Can Stem Cells Treat Diseases?
Doctors can use stem cells in treatments. There is successful stem cell transplants in the forme of bone marrow transplant.
Stem cell transplant are able of generating healthier cells in patients with damages cells due to
chemotherapy or disease.
They can also be very efficient in boosting the defense abilities of immune systems in fighting against cancers and other blood borne diseases Like leukemia, lymphoma, neuroblastoma and multiple myeloma.
The transplants are most successful when using adult stem cells or umbilical cord.
Contact Park International
Contact Park International to learn more about stem cell transplants.