Stem cells could be the beginning of the end for deadly diseases, allowing medical science to form tissues and organs that would replace custom or repair damaged ones.
Scientists have not yet mastered the process of creating specialized cells that form parts of the body. But they have come a long way from 1800, when the pathologist Rudolf Virchow pioneered the idea that the disease begins at the cellular level in his laboratory in Berlin.
Embryonic stem cell research began in the USA in November 1998, when James Thomson, a scientist at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, was the first to successfully remove cells from spare embryos clinics fertility. He established the world's first line of human embryonic stem cells. Ad's however, set off a storm of controversy, which was carried out quickly in countries around the world.
In the center of the controversy was a wave of political and religious fervor, with many comparing Zea research to cannibalism, and warned of a dark future, science fiction such as filled with embryo farms "and die donation" In
The truth, every yr thousands of unwanted embryos are slated for disposal at fertility clinics across the country. These embryos are smaller than the above point and point "when writing on a piece of paper.
They have no identifying characteristics, and even a hint of a nervous system.
To throw, advocates say, then when stem cells could develop into a child, even if planted inside a uterus seems a waste inconceivable that they claim borders on unethical.
Some forms of stem cell therapy have been around and used widely range for decades. As an example, bone marrow transplants are used to treat sickle cell disease. Stem cells from bone marrow donated regenerate the patient's blood and immune system.
It acts as the cell divides and becomes two. The two become four. And so on and so forth until multiply into a ball of millions of cells. Similar cells combine into tissues, organs and tissues combine. There are over 200 different types of cells that create the human body. And within each of us are billions of cells, each with a specific job to do.
A stem cell is a cell that matures and is able to self-reproduce many times over the life of the body. The dream of medical researchers is to provide appropriate conditions or specific strains of cells give the right signals so that a target stem cells develop into mature cells that could repair diseased tissues or organs. If successful, this would mean the end of crude mechanical devices like insulin pumps, joints titanium or plastic arteries, and use of living natural replacements.
Potential for stem cell medicine is awe inspiring. Stem cell lines could be used to help burn victims and those who have suffered spinal cord injuries. It also has the potential to cure the disease seen more widespread today, such as diabetes, heart disease, and all types of cancer.
Even in the midst of all the controversy, few question the medical promise of embryonic stem cells.
And while the arguments go back and forth, policymakers and governments are not waiting for medical answers.
Reactions and actions included limiting government funding and the type of research that allowed them are varied.
Germany, for example, has banned any type of stem cell research. Under President George W. Bush, the US imposed stern limits on government funding, private funding but left wide open.
This meant that Britain, China, Korea and Singapore are competing with each other to become the epicenter of stem cell research. In addition to providing funds, ethical omissions established to encourage and support research in the field, carefully developed guidelines. Despite the varied political climates
, scientists are working too angry to see which techniques will produce the fastest viable treatments.
In the UK, scientists are allowed to extract stem cells from embryos left over from in vitro fertilization and embryo clone of special study.
Also with an eye on the future, Britain has built the world's first stem cell bank. It is a deposit that stem cell lines are kept in cold storage. Researchers can deposit and withdraw both adult and embryonic stem cells. They apply the same rigorous standards for all cells, and scientists hope to eventually be able to create batches of stem cells, which are as uniform as drugs developed by pharmaceutical companies.
What are embryonic stem cells?
Most embryonic stem cells used in research come from embryos created by in vitro fertilization.
Inner cell mass has 40 or so each embryo stem cells. The mass is transferred to a culture dish coated with feeder cells. As cells divide and multiply, they are re-planted in fresh culture dishes. If, after several months, the original stem cells have developed into millions of healthy cells without maturation and differentiation into specialized cells, they are referred to as a stem cell line "and are able to reproduce indefinitely.
Embryonic stem cells can develop any type of cell through a process called pluripotency. The challenge for scientists is to keep cells from maturing and then harvested at the right time to give the right signals so that cells differentiate into tissue needed. We did not yet realize the secret nature as to tell a stem cell to form blood, another specific organ and another skin.
Scientists know that the complex combinations of growth factors, genetic and chemical signals lead the process, but they are a long way from making the leap to be able to enlarge or order process.
What are adult stem cells?
Adult body has a limited number of stem cells in many tissues and organs, which are dormant until activated by disease or accident. Adult stem cells are not as functional or multi-talented like embryonic stem cells however. They may be transformed into any type of cell and may be limited to only becoming cells of the original tissue types. (So, while an adult stem cells in the brain can become a neuron or glial cells (neural cells both are) present research we gave the formula for the command to change a liver cell or bone. Adult stem cells have been
Found in the brain, blood, cornea, retina, heart, fat, skin, pulp, bone marrow, blood vessels and skeletal muscle and intestine.
Adult stem cells generally have two main drawbacks researchers. These are rare and hard body culture than embryonic cells. Since it requires a large number of them, their sustainability is widely spread use somewhat questionable.
How many stem cell lines exist today?
Right now, the US still leads the world in the number of embryonic stem cell lines, even with restrictions on funding imposed by President Bush, which prohibit government funding for embryonic stem cell lines created after August 9, 2001. But Britain and most Asian countries particularly South Korea and Singapore, are working hard to become the new world leaders are providing aggressive and facilities, financing and omissions in therapy and began to draw any of the brightest scientific minds.
There are a total of 155 embryonic stem cell lines in the world today. 78 of them are approved for federal funding in the US, and of those, 22 are approved for US funding and appropriate research. Sweden has 33 years, South Korea has 24, India has 10, Singapore has 7, Israel has 5 has 3 UK, Spain and Iran has has 2
1. What progress has been made?
So far, however, only adult stem cells have been studied in humans, although research on both adult and embryonic stem cells continues at a rapid pace. Some of the results so far show promise in the ability to treat heart disease, leukemia and other cancers, rheumatoid arthritis, Parkinson's disease, and diabetes type I. However
Preliminary results are exciting, and this century could mark beginning of a revolutionary change in the practice of medicine as we know it.
Category: Healthcare Basics