Define Stem Cells and give background information on them. Stem cells are a class of undifferentiated cells that are able to differentiate into special cell types. There are two types of Stem Cells: Adult Stem cells and embryonic stem cells. Embryonic stem cells come from embryos that are 3-5 days old. They are often taken from the umbilical cord. They are used more than adult stem cells. Adult stem cells mainly come from bone marrow. Their primary function is to maintain homeostasis by replacing cells that die because of injury / disease. Stem cells have the potential to develop into many different cell types during early life and growth. In many tissues, stem cells can serve as an internal repair system. They can divide essentially without limit to replenish other cells. When a stem cell divides, it has the potential to either remain a stem cell or become another type of cell with a more specialized function. Examples of this could brain cells, muscle cells, or red blood cells. Stem cells have two important characteristics that distinguish them from other cell types. First, under certain experimental conditions, they can be induced to become tissue- or organ- specific cells with special functions. Second, they can renew themselves through cell division, sometimes after long periods of inactivity. Stem cells are useful because they help cure diseases and have so much potential to heal and cure. B ) Stem cells have already been able to treat more than 80 diseases and are being used to try and figure out how they can be helpful to cure several more diseases. Stem Cell research holds promise for the treatments of AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, heart disease, liver disease, Parkinson’s disease, spinal cord injury and stroke. In Retinal diseases, scientists and researchers have been able to direct the growth of photoreceptor cells from stem cells. A healthy retina is crucial for good vision. The retina is a layer of nerve tissue in the back of your eye that...
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