Stem Cell Research topic is one of the hottest political issues of the 21st century with impassioned debates on both sides of the topics, concerning the ethics and benefits of the use of stem cells for treating life threatening diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Among the researchers of this field, stem cell research is an ongoing activity of interest. The stem cells of animals have been being investigated by some researchers since quite some time for their potential use in treating incurable diseases. Stem cell research has also made face up to ethical issues along with some success.
Mouse embryonic stem cells with fluorescent marker
Most of the multicellular organisms contain stem cells. By mitosis and differentiation, stem cells can regenerate themselves. In mammals, Stem cells can be classified as embryonic stem cells found in blastocysts and the adult stem cells in the adult tissues. To grow and transform stem cells into specialized cells, cell culture can be used. The stem cells can differentiate into specialized types of cells aside from being able to renew on their own. This is the potency of stem cells. Cells of a closely related group can be produced by multipotent stem cells while just one cell type can be produced by unipotent stem cells. From the synthesis of the egg and the sperm cells, totipotent cells are produced. During animal embryogenesis, Germ layer is formed which is a collection of cells. Pluripotent cells are derived from any of the germ layers and they can differentiate into the cells.
The epiblast tissue of the inner cell mass of a blastocyst, an embryo that is 4-5 days old derives the embryonic stem cells. Human embryonic stem cells require the basic fibroblast growth factor for its growth. Though, embryonic stem cells remain untested. In a developed living, an adult stem cell is found. Mostly adult stem cells are multipotent. Adult stem cells have shown achievement in treating blood or bone cancers. According to research, stem cells can differentiate into specialized cell types as well as they retain their capacity to regenerate themselves by cell division. In adults, the multipotent stem cells act as the wear and tear system of the body. Stem cells can be used to cure certain diseases related to brain or heart damages and the spinal cord as they can repair damaged tissues. Stem cells are also used potentially in gene therapy. In the treatments for nervous system disorders, embryonic stem cells are supposed to be of great use.
Stem cells research facts and myths:
Myth: Adult stem cells are useful same as the embryonic stem.
Fact: In the human body, embryonic stem cells have capability to generate any cell type. Stem cells of an adult are more specialized because usually they formulate cells only from their tissue of origin. So, the things that can not be done by adult stem cells can be done by embryonic stem cells. It is necessary to follow research on both embryonic and adult stem cells to maximize the chances of discovering new cures.
Myth: Scientists are enabling to 'reprogram' human skin cells into cells that behave like embryonic stem cells.
Fact: To evaluate the technique's full potential and determine whether the reprogrammed cells are functionally equivalent to embryonic stem cells, scientists are agreeing that it is too early. Also, the method can cause mutations that predispose cells to cancer. Due to this result, some scientists are worried that the reprogrammed cells will never be suitable for use in patients. Research should continue along all avenues, using embryonic stem cells, adult stem cells, and reprogrammed cells for the foreseeable future according to stem cell researchers and also they agree with this research.
Myth: It is proved that adult stem cells are effective in treating more than 70 diseases.
Fact: The promises are held by adult stem cell research but blood stem cells offer the only proven adult stem cells therapies. The claim of the adult stem cells that they have been used to cure more than 70 diseases has been widely disgraced.
Myth: Instead of embryonic stem cells, stem cells from amniotic fluid and umbilical cord blood can be used.
Fact: Adult stem cells are present in amniotic fluid and umbilical cord blood. For therapy, they hold promise but do not have the properties or potential of embryonic stem cells.
Myth: The federal government approves the stem cell lines which provide an adequate source of embryonic stem cells for research.
Fact: After the approval of stem cell lines, scientists determined that those lines are contaminated with animal proteins. Also, none of the approved lines was formed to model human disease.
Myth: Embryonic stem cell research is opposed by religious people.
Fact: Some religious people are in opposition to the research in embryonic stem cells. But, others believe that embryonic stem cell research is pro-life and that it is morally wrong not to follow this research, due to its potential to reduce suffering of human. Embryonic stem cell research is considered as immoral by most of religious traditions, including Judaism, Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, and some branches of Christianity.
Myth: Embryos used by embryonic stem cell research have begun to develop as babies.
Fact: Blastocysts derives stem cells and these stem cells have only developed for about five days after fertilization. This research was developed completely in laboratory dishes in fertility clinics and is never implanted in a woman's uterus. These early stage embryos consist of about 100 cells. The cells are undifferentiated at this stage because they have no nervous system, no heart, no limbs and no specialized human tissues.
Myth: Aborted fetuses are used by embryonic stem cell research.
Fact: Abortion and human embryonic stem cells have no any type of connection. A human embryo has implanted in the uterus by the time and its cells have specialized to the point where they can no longer be used for the derivation of embryonic stem cell lines. To derive stem cells, embryos are used which are created in dishes in fertility clinics. They are never transferred into the human body. When parents decide that they are no longer needed for fertility treatment, then they are donated for medical research.
Myth: Fertility clinics discard embryos. These embryos could be adopted rather than discarded or used for research.
Fact: Each year, thousands of leftover embryos are discarded and more than 400,000 embryos are currently frozen in fertility clinics; most will eventually be discarded. Many embryos which are created for IVF are discarded. These embryos are discarded because they do not develop normally or are known to carry serious genetic abnormalities. These types of embryos are not appropriate for implantation. But, these defective embryos could help researchers in the laboratory to understand genetically linked diseases and develop treatments for them.
Potentially, stem cells are immortal cells which have the ability of self-renewal. For the ultimate cure for degenerative diseases, stem cells are the focus of research. Also, stem cell research is the key to the mystery of human development and aging. The embryonic stem (ES) cell can distinguish into cells of all 3 germ cell layers. The symptoms of degenerative neurological disorders in animal models can be modulated by the therapeutic potential of the differentiated cells. But, the potential of generating tumor and ethical dilemma of human ES cell acquisition trouble any critics. These problems have led to federal regulations on the development and use of human ES cells. To avoid these ethical issues, adult stem cells may provide an answer and hold great promise for the future.Recent news says new hope for Hearing with stem cell as they formed inner ear sensory cells in the laboratory.
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