Cell Biology - Stem Cells

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What are Stem Cells? 

Stem cells are simply undifferentiated cells that can differentiate into specialised cells Creating all the different types of cells needed in the body to function and to create more cells in the case of injury

Different forms of stem cells have different names and  varying capabilities to differentiate: Totipotent – All cell types Pluripotent – Most cell types Multipotent – Few other cells

 As an individual grows, they have less unspecialised stem cells and more adult stem cells

Scientists havetofound we can use stem cells our advantage in treating many diseases and conditions


Potential of Stem Cells 

Possible to repair damaged organs instead of replacing them with donors. Totipotent cells would be most useful but to obtain these are controversial Obtaining totipotent cells would lead to death of embryo Embryonic stem cells research is now banned  Adult stem cells cells found in bone marrow but there are smaller quantities found in the brain, skeletal muscle, skin and a few other places


What have we managed to do so far? 

Stem cell therapy th erapy where damaged tissues replaced by stem cells Simple organs have h ave been replaced Many diseases already treated



Embryonic stem cells cells be being ing obtained obtain ed destroy the embryo  Against many religions

  

High chance of rejection rejectio n from embryonic stem ccells ells  Adult stem cells are less flexible f lexible Kill potential life to save a life?


The future •

Possibility to obtain stem cells from umbil umbilical ical cord Get rid of the need for organ donors Find out how birth defects occur  With increased kn knowledg owledge, e, ccould ould ttreat reat hundreds of diseases Potential to be a routine task carried out daily Funding is needed though, along with patience


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