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Monday, September 16, 2013

Stem Cells Offer Great Promise for Medical Treatment

We all start out as one cell called “zygote”. The zygote or fertilized egg divides into two cells, four cells, and so on. In process, these cells are formed and take function in every part of our body that is called differentiation. Stem cells are cells that have not yet differentiated. Under the right conditions, stem cells are capable to generate and renew themselves through cell division, which no other cells in the body can do this. Stem cells are often called “progenitor” cells because they can produce copies of themselves. These cells are significantly known to develop into many different cell types in the body during early life and growth. Likewise, they serve as internal repair system in many tissues. Blood cells, nerve cells, muscle cells, and all other cells arise from the stem cells. Stem cells are the body’s master cells.
There are four sources of stem cells: Embryonic stem cells, Adult stem cells, Adult cells, and perinatal stem cells. The first one, as the name suggests, are derived from embryos. These are 3-5 days old embryos called blastocysts and have about 150 cells. These cells are said to be versatile due to its capability of dividing into more stem cells or can become more any type of cell in the body. The Adult stem cells are found in bone marrow or fat in most adult tissues. Unlike embryonic stem cells, the adult stem cells have limited ability to generate or renew cells in the body. Through genetic reprogramming, scientists were able to use Adult cells to act like embryonic stem cells, but haven’t find out yet if altering adult cells will cause adverse effects in human. Another cells that have the ability to change into specialized cells are the perinatal stem cells, which are found in amniotic fluid in addition to umbilical cord blood stem cells. Of all the four sources embryonic stem cells serve to be more of interesting that would make a breakthrough in the field of medicine.

However, there has been controversy on how embryonic stem cells can be obtained. Opponents do now want the fertilized egg to use for research. The studies were limited. But, when President Barack Obama signed the approval funding on the Embryonic Stem Cells research, it posed a huge hope for medical treatment that would help treating serious diseases and injuries.  The studies in stem cell give hopes to researchers and doctors to better understand how diseases and conditions develop. Since stem cells can generate healthy cells people who suffer from spinal cord injuries, type 1 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, heart disease, stroke, burns, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and osteoarthritis will benefit from the outcome of the research.

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