Professor Derek J. Thiess
29th Nov, 2010
Embryonic Stem Cell Research
Over the last decade the use of stem cells has been a controversial and heated topic. Debates have exploded over every aspect of stem cell research in nearly every region of the world. Every aspect of stem cell research has come under debate in nearly every region of the world. It has been speculated by scientists that stem cell research may have the power to potentially cure incredibly harmful diseases or even regrow organs. Ethical controversies involved with extracting stem cells, make it very difficult to further investigate. In actuality the fact remains that the potential cures that may come from stem cell research could prove to be some of the most significant advances in modern medicine to this day. Stem cells are cells that have not yet differentiated into a certain type of cell with a specialized function. Since they have not yet developed into a specific type of adult cell, stems cells have the remarkable ability to develop into many different types of cells with a specialized function. In many tissues in the human body stem cells serve as the repair system by seamlessly dividing to replenish various damaged or worn out cells of different types. Stem cells can differentiate into a variety of cells such as muscle cells, red blood cells, brain cells, nerve cells, and many other types of cells with RBCs, muscle, brain, nerve, and other types of cells with specialized function to produce or replace needed cells in the body. Stem cells could potentially provide an unlimited source of specific, clinically important adult cells such as bone, muscle, liver or blood cells. In laymen’s terms, this means that embryonic stem cells can, (if manipulated correctly) turn into any type of human cell, anything from bone marrow to the vitreous humor of the eye. This has enormous potential in the field of medicine as these cells can be used to replace other damaged cells in the body in conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and diabetes. Other diseases that will also benefit from human ESC research include ECS research will also benefit other diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, osteoporosis, macular degeneration, cancer, heart disease, and spinal cord injury. Stem cells are different from other types of cells in two ways. They start off as unspecialized cells capable of replacing themselves through cell division even after long periods of inactivity. The other thing that makes stem cells different from other types of cells is that they can be induced to become a specific type of tissue specific or organ specific cell with the particular specialized function under experimental conditions in a lab. There are different types of stem cells. The most basic way in which to divide stem cells into types are non-embryonic stem cells which are sometimes referred to as somatic or adult stem cells and embryonic stem cells. Non-embryonic stems cells are obtained from developed organisms. Embryonic stem cells are obtained from blastocysts. A blastocyst is basically an egg after it has been fertilized yet before an embryo begins forming in the egg. A non-embryonic stem cell is a cell that is undifferentiated or unspecialized cell that is found among specialized cells in a tissue or organ that can renew itself and differentiate to yield some or all of the major cell types of the organ or tissue. Since non-embryonic stem cells are found in developed living organisms, their primary function is to maintain and repair the tissue in which they are found. Adult stem cells have been found to exist in most organs in the human body. This makes them good for research and could potentially provide possible cures for patients needing transplants through scientist learning how to regenerate body organs through stem cells. While there is much excitement in the scientific community about the potential for adult stem cells While the potential for adult stem cells has...
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