February 2013

Got something to say?

Become a contributor: editor@experimentation-online.co.uk

Overview of Stem Cells

Stem cells are cells that are the “first” cells that all others types of cell are derived from, as they have the ability to divide many times, whilst maintaining an undifferentiated state. However they are of great interest to the medical profession, due to their remarkable ability to differentiate into any required specialised cell.


Warning: getimagesize(/home/erudit8/public_html/experimentation/common/imgs/StemCells_JenniferWood_January2013_1.jpg) [function.getimagesize]: failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /home/erudit8/public_html/common/functions.php on line 203

Warning: Division by zero in /home/erudit8/public_html/common/functions.php on line 204

There are two types of stem cells in mammals; Embryonic Stem Cells (ESCs) and Adult Stem Cells (ASCs). ESCs are found in blastocysts five days after an egg has been fertilised and if the pregnancy continued would go on to develop into different embryonic tissues. ESCs are remarkable in that they have the ability to differentiate into any type of cell, and so are known as pluripotent. Adult Stem Cells (ASCs) are found in various pockets in adult mammalian tissues, such as the bone marrow and brain. They provide replacement cells to maintain the tissues. ASCs normally only differentiate into the tissues in which they are found, rather than any type of tissue like ESCs, and so are known as multipotent. Induced pluripotent stem cells are adult non-stem cells which are forced to express certain genes that allow them to mimic pluripotent ESCs.


Warning: getimagesize(/home/erudit8/public_html/experimentation/common/imgs/StemCells_JenniferWood_January2013_2.jpg) [function.getimagesize]: failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /home/erudit8/public_html/common/functions.php on line 224

Warning: Division by zero in /home/erudit8/public_html/common/functions.php on line 225

There are many ethical dilemmas surrounding stem cell treatment. In order to obtain ESCs, a five day old embryo, which could potentially develop into new life, is destroyed [1]. The main argument for using ESCs, are that the applications of these technologies have great potential to alleviate human suffering, and the blastocyst from which the stem cells are taken, is simply a group of cells with no physical or emotional senses. (For more details on ethical issues that surround ESCs, check out the Euro Stem Cell website [1].)

However there may be an alternative to ESCs; ‘New Scientist’ magazine recently reported that a type of multipotent stem cell can be taken from cadavers up to 5 days after death [2]. Whilst these cells are not pluripotent, they can still be used in a wide range of treatments. Since many people already donate their organs after death, it may not be a great step to consent use of stem cells for medical treatments.

Another option being explored, is to awaken ASCs in the body from their dormant state by stimulating neighbouring cells, which has been successful in fruit flies. [3]


Warning: getimagesize(/home/erudit8/public_html/experimentation/common/imgs/StemCells_JenniferWood_January2013_3.jpg) [function.getimagesize]: failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /home/erudit8/public_html/common/functions.php on line 203

Warning: Division by zero in /home/erudit8/public_html/common/functions.php on line 204

Due to stem cells ability to regenerate and differentiate into multiple tissues, many researchers believe that many types of disease and tissue damage will be able to be treated using them in the future. Current research is looking at repairing spinal cord injuries and nerve pathways of the eye and heart, as well as liver and bone replacements [4 . Elsewhere, researchers have shown that certain cancers can be treated with stem cell therapy, particularly leukemias, as the stem cells replace the cells lost by the patient during chemotherapy and radiation therapy. [5]

Recently, the BBC highlighted that scientists in the University College London Institute of Ophthalmology had successfully derived light sensitive cells from ESCs, which were transplanted into blind mice, and successfully improved their vision.[6] They hope that if human trials are successful, conditions such as diabetes related blindness and age related macular degeneration will be able to be treated via this technique.

Stem cells research is already being used to treat various human degenerative conditions, however, finding a way to collect and culture stem cells cheaply, in a way that does not affront various factions, would make the treatments more accessible. Treating patients with their own stem cells to minimise rejection of the cells by the body is the next important step, and “personalised medicine” may offer many patients an alternative to a lifetime of medication, hospital visits and potentially increase their life span.

References

[1]”Embryonic stem cell research: an ethical dilemma” from EuroStemCell, available from: http://www.eurostemcell.org/factsheet/embyronic-stem-cell-research-ethical-dilemma [accessed 25th January 2013]

[2] Jessica Hamzelou, (2012) “Cadaver stem cells offer new hope of life after death”, New Scientist online, available from: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn23034-cadaver-stem-cells-offer-new-hope-of-life-after-death.html [accessed 25th January 2013]

[3] Chell JM, & Brand AH (2010). “Nutrition-responsive glia control exit of neural stem cells from quiescence.” Cell, 143, 1161-73, available from: http://wellcometrust.wordpress.com/2011/01/27/awakening-stem-cells-in-the-brain/ [accessed 26th January 2013]

[4] “Stem Cell Research”, UK Stem Cell Foundation, available from: http://www.ukscf.org/research/ourResearch.htm#spinalcord [accessed 25th January 2013]

[5] “Stem Cell Transplants”, American Cancer Society, available from: here [accessed 25th January 2013]

[6] Fergus Walsh, (2012) “’Blind’ mice eyesight treated with transplanted cells”, BBC News Health, available from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-17748165 [accessed 25th January 2013]

Comments

Respond to this article

michael kors outlet online

burberry outlet california

christian louboutin outlet

michael kors bags

louis vuitton outlet

coach factory

coach factory outlet

coach factory online

coach factory

north face mens jackets

coach bags

christian louboutin shoes

michael kors black friday

ralph lauren

ugg black friday 2014

uggs outlet

michael kors

canada goose black friday

michael kors outlet

the north face jackets

coach factory online

michael kors bags

black friday deals

burberry scarf

michael kors outlet store

sunglasses for men

ralph lauren

louis vuitton neverfull

coach purses

louis vuitton black friday

canada goose black friday

ugg black friday 2014

burberry outlet

coach outlet store online

christian louboutin

coach factory outlet

michael kors outlet store

michael kors outlet

black friday deals

coach outlet

black friday sale

canada goose black friday 2014

burberry scarf sale

cheap ugg boots

burberry bags on sale

uggs for women

coach factory store online

www.louisvuitton.com

ralph lauren outlet

north face outlet store

burberry bags for sale

christian louboutin outlet online

christian louboutin

coach outlet

coach outlet store online

louis vuitton black friday 2014

burberry sale online

christian louboutin outlet

louis vuitton outlet

louis vuitton outlet stores

coach handbags new 2014

louis vuitton black friday 2014

michael kors outlet stores

louis vuitton bags

louis vuitton handbags outlet

michael kors outlet online

oakley sunglasses outlet store

michael kors handbags

cheap north face jackets

ugg outlet

burberry outlet stores

michael kors outlet stores

louis vuitton outlet

ugg boots cheap

louis vuitton bags

coach outlet stores online

christian louboutin sale

christian louboutin outlet shoes

the north face

louis vuitton outlet

michael kors outlet online

coach factory outlet

louis vuitton belt

louis vuitton black friday

coach outlet

coach bags

michael kors

oakley glasses

coach outlet

michael kors outlet online

oakley sunglasses

coach purses

coach outlet online

lv handbags

black friday ads

christian louboutin outlet

the north face jackets

north face black friday 2014

coach factory outlet

burberry sale

louis vuitton luggage

ugg sale

ralph lauren outlet online

michael kors outlet online

uggs on sale

burberry sale

coach outlet

michael kors black friday 2014

coach factory online

louis vuitton bags

coach handbags new 2014

michael kors outlet stores

the north face backpacks

prescription sunglasses

north face outlet

black friday

the north face sale

coach factory outlet

coach outlet store online

uggs for men

michael kors black friday

north face jackets

louis vuitton outlet

louis vuitton 2014

lv speedy

coach factory online

louis vuitton wallet

black friday

louis vuitton 2014

ralph lauren outlet

black friday 2014

coach handbags new 2014

ralph lauren

coach black friday 2014

the north face outlet

michael kors outlet online

ugg sale

north face black friday

north face backpacks

michael kors handbags outlet

coach outlet

coach handbags new 2014

coach outlet store online

louis vuitton 2014

designer handbags

black friday deals

burberry outlet stores

designer handbags

coach factory online

uggs australia

louis vuitton wallet

louis vuitton backpack

coach factory outlet

michael kors sale

michael kors black friday

cheap louis vuitton handbags

coach factory outlet

coach handbags new 2014

coach factory

oakley sunglasses

black friday sales

north face black friday 2014

ugg black friday

uggs for men

burberry bags

ralph lauren sale

black friday

black friday 2014

coach purses outlet

christian louboutin shoes

ugg boots on sale classic

burberry scarf

coach factory outlet online

louis vuitton outlet online

coach outlet store online

louis vuitton handbags

cheap uggs

burberry outlet online

coach outlet store online

coach outlet usa

christian louboutin shoes

ugg black friday

coach black friday 2014

louis vuitton luggage

louis vuitton outlet

black friday sale

coach purses

louis vuitton black friday 2014

coach black friday

ugg boots clearance

christian louboutin outlet

coach usa

oakley store

coach outlet online

coach black friday 2014

black friday deals

coach outlet

christian louboutin sale

michael kors outlet

michael kors handbags

coach outlet

polo ralph lauren outlet

coach outlet

oakley sunglasses discount

lv outlet

coach handbags

louis vuitton outlet online

black friday deals

michael kors black friday 2014

christian louboutin

coach outlet stores online

oakley sunglasses outlet

black friday sale

michael kors outlet online

polo outlet

michael kors outlet

christian louboutin

north face jackets

coach factory

ugg boots sale

michael kors handbags

ralph lauren bedding

michael kors outlet store

coach purses

north face outlet

coach black friday

coach outlet store online

coach factory outlet online

burberry outlet

coach outlet

louis vuitton replica

coach factory outlet

north face mens jackets

michael kors black friday 2014

louis vuitton handbags

polo ralph lauren outlet

polo outlet

coach factory outlet

polo ralph lauren

north face backpacks

cheap oakley sunglasses

louis vuitton black friday

louis vuitton backpack

christian louboutin shoes on sale

lv outlet

burberry outlet online

burberry handbags

burberry sale

louis vuitton neverfull

coach factory outlet

michael kors

louis vuitton purses

louis vuitton replica

burberry outlet

uggs australia

lv handbags

louis vuitton outlet stores

christian louboutin outlet mall

louis vuitton outlet

christian louboutin outlet store

the north face outlet stores

michael kors outlet

christian louboutin

michael kors outlet online

burberry outlet

michael kors outlet

coach factory outlet

michael kors

michael kors outlet store

coach outlet store online

burberry outlet stores

coach factory outlet online

polo outlet

cheap coach purses

ralph lauren outlet

coach handbags new 2014

the north face outlet

ralph lauren outlet

the north face sale

coach outlet

coach factory

coach purses

ugg outlet

christian louboutin shoes

ralph lauren polo outlet

coach outlet

ralph lauren home

ralph lauren

michael kors bags

the north face jackets

authentic louis vuitton handbags

black friday 2014

north face coats

michael kors handbags

louis vuitton bags on sale

coach handbags new 2014

michael kors

burberry bags

the north face outlet locations

designer bags

ugg boots sale

oakley sunglasses sale

burberry outlet

coach factory outlet

coach handbags

louis vuitton handbags

coach handbags new 2014

coach factory online

ugg boots on sale classic

oakley sunglasses

black friday 2014

ralph lauren polo outlet

michael kors outlet

louis vuitton diaper bag

ugg sale

uggs outlet

ugg boots

michael kors purses

coach factory outlet online

uggs australia

burberry scarf sale

michael kors outlet

canada goose black friday 2014

north face women's jackets

oakley sunglasses cheap

michael kors outlet stores

coach black friday

black friday

black friday sale

the north face outlet

black friday 2014

lv outlet

uggs australia

coach factory store

burberry outlet online

discount oakley sunglasses

coach factory

north face coats

louis vuitton purses

louis vuitton backpack

cheap uggs

louis vuitton sunglasses

coach handbags

louis vuitton speedy

north face black friday

michael kors outlet

oakley sunglasses wholesale

shuaigecai

Similar articles

Young cells combating age old problems

Isabel Gordon

How can stem cells be used to treat diseases of old age?

Also in Life Sciences

This month...

Emma Trantham

...we hope you like our 'Edition of Firsts'. In the Life Sciences section this month there are articles on novel therapies and treatments plus a look at some of the history of the life sciences and even of the Earth itself. Enjoy!

Milk: dairy versus soya - an impartial comparison

Jasmine Parkinson

Which milk is better for you and for the environment - dairy or soya?

The Magic of Medicine: Gene Therapy

Claire Asher

An introduction to what gene therapy is and how it works.

An A to Z of firsts in science and medicine

Ruth Steer

A look at the some of the milestones that we have passed in the life sciences.

Were the first 'hobbits' really from the Shire?

Sophie Armshaw

Always thought that hobbits were just something in Tolkein's stories? Some of our distant relatives may have shared some hobbit characteristics.

The Miller-Urey Experiment:the first building blocks of life

Geraint Langford

How did life start on Earth? This famous experiment was the first to show how amino acids could have been generated in Earth's early history.

Providing huge discoveries

James Sciberras

Ever thought about doing a PhD? A PhD student discusses what they're all about.

Ladies and gentlemen, give him a hand!

Marissa Maciej

A look at the first British hand transplant...

Fast food: the first GM fish is ready for our plates

Alice Tobin

Would you eat a genetically modified salmon? The first genetically modified salmon has been approved for human consumption in the US.