Stem Cells - the elixir of life, the answer to longevity
Man’s search for the elixir of life has been a long and tedious path, it’s not hidden in some fountain or pool of youth or it’s not bestowed upon man by some magical being, the answer always lied within us, the answer has always been within our bodies.
So what are these cells?
The body's raw materials are stem cells— cells from which all other cells with specialized functions are generated. Stem cells divide to form more cells called daughter cells under the right conditions in the body or a laboratory.
So what’s so special about these cells?
The daughter cells can either become new stem cells (self-renewal) or specialized cells (differentiation) with a more specific function, such as brain cells, heart muscle cells, blood cells,or bone cells.
This special function to generate a variety of cells is only specific to these cells and no other cell in the body has the natural ability to generate new cell types.
Stem cells research has enabled researchers and doctors to,
Better understand how diseases and conditions develop
Test new drugs for safety and effectiveness.
So where do these cells originate from, well there are several sources from which these cells can be taken, Embryonic stem cells; Adult stem cells; induced pluripotent stem cells & Perinatal stem cells.
It was only in the recent past, when schools used to provide children with sleeping periods in the afternoons to provide young and growing minds the rest it deserves.
Embryonic stem cells are the most preferred as these are pluripotent in nature, meaning they can divide into more stem cells or can become any type of cell in the body. This versatility of the embryonic stem cells allows it to be used for regeneration or to repair diseased tissue and organs.
People with spinal cord injuries, type 1 diabetes, Parkinson's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, heart disease, stroke, burns, cancer and osteoarthritis might benefit from stem cell therapies. Home health care services and doctors on call seem to be the only answer for patients suffering from these diseases.
Stem Cells - the elixir of life, the answer to longevity. Hope for patients suffering with spinal cord injuries, type 1 diabetes, Parkinson's disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, heart disease, stroke, burns, cancer and osteoarthritis Stem cells may have the potential for use in transplant and regenerative medicine as they may have the potential to be grown to become new tissue. The knowledge on stem cells is continuously advanced by the researchers for its applications in transplant and regenerative medicine.
What are the issues researchers are facing?
Embryonic stem cells are obtained from early-stage embryos but several questions and issues have been raised about the ethics of embryonic stem cell research. So researchers have tried moving on towards adult stem cells, but these cells are found only in the bone marrow and the fat. Adult stem cells may not be as versatile and durable as are embryonic stem cells. as they may not be able to be manipulated to produce all cell types, which limits how adult stem cells can be used to treat diseases.
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