A stem cell is specified type of cell possessing unique capability to renew itself and produce specialized types of cells. Although most body cells are committed to performing specified duties, stem cells are always uncommitted and remain so until they receive signal to develop into specialized cells. Their ability to turn to specialized cells and proliferation capacity to make stem cells unique from all others. For several years study have tried to look out for new conduct to apply stem cells in place for diseased or damaged cells and tissues. Recently, much attention has been accorded to stem cells from researchers and clinicians.
Scientists who have an interest in the development of human have been conducting research on it for a number of years. Stem cell has been one of them and has the capability of developing into any type of cell within the body systems. They have the power to develop to all of the known different type of cells. With their unique properties, stem cells are able to turn from fatal tissue and embryo.
To patients and researcher, there are many issues about stem cells that are unsolved. The prediction of the application of the stem cell is impossible particularly because the premature stage of the discipline of the stem cell biology. At present, it is impossible to determine in advance which stem cells or techniques for influencing the cells. This will be best tackle needs for primary research and clinical applications for whose answers will be found by doing more research on the issue.
Introduction and Meaning
Stem cells refer to cells found in almost all multi-cellular organisms. They have a unique characteristic of renewing through mitotic division of cells differentiating into a variety of cells. During the early stages of growth, stem cells have a remarkable ability to develop into diverse category of cells in the organism’s body. They also serve as a form of internal repair system in the body, dividing essentially without limitation to refill other cells provided that the human being or animal is alive. After the stem cell breaks up, each new fangled cell has the prospective to either to remain to remain a steam cell or turn to another type of cell that has specialized functions such as brain cells, red blood cells, or muscle cells.
There two characteristics that distinguish stem cells from other cell species. First, stem cells are generalized cells that have the capability of replenishing themselves through the process of cell division, which sometimes happens after a long phase of sluggishness. Secondly, under particular physiological or investigational situations, they can also be induced to turn them to organs or tissues (particular cells that have specialized functions in the body). In various organs like bone marrow and the gut, stem cells divide regularly to repair and replace damaged and worn out tissues in the body. In other body organs like the heart and the pancreas, stem cells are known to divide only on particular conditions (Bagutti et al 184-196).
Adult and Embryonic
In the recent past, scientist used to work with two types of stem cells that were derived from animals and human beings. These are the embryonic and the non-embryonic stem cells. They discovered means to get embryonic stem cells from the mouse at its early age. They also conducted in depth study of the natural science of stem cells found in the mouse that led to the discovery of a means to get stem cells from a human embryo and growing those cells in the researcher’s laboratory tests. In 2006, researchers made yet a further penetrate by identifying conditions that would make some specific mature cells be genetically reprogrammed to assume a state of a stem cell nature.
Adult stem cells are usually found in many body organs and tissues such as the brain, peripheral blood, skeleton muscles, teeth, skin, gut, liver, blood vessels, bone marrow, testis, and ovarian epithelium. They are found to exist in a particular area in each of the following tissues. In this tissue, there is proof that some kinds of stem cells appear to be pericytes; these are cells that form the outermost layer of the small blood vesicles. Stem cells are also made to remain in non-dividing state for a considerable period until they become activated through a normal need of more cells to uphold tissues injury, or disease. In each tissue, there is a significantly small quantity of stem cells that, and if they are removed fro the body; their capability to divide is limited, thus making the generation of large amounts of stem cells complex. In laboratory tests, scientists are trying to get better ways to produce large amounts of stem cells of adults and change them to produce a specific type of cells which could be used as a treatment of diseases and injuries (Maltsev, et al 41-50).
Stem cells are of considerable importance to living organisms in many ways. In the life of a 3-5-day-old embryo, the interior cells that produce a complete body of an organism. These includes all the specialized organs and cell type such as skin, lungs, heart, eggs, sperms and other body tissues. In the adult tissues like muscles, bone marrow, and brain, isolated population of mature stem cells produce replacement for those cells that are vanished through diseases and normal body wear and tear. Given these unique characters of regenerative capabilities. Stem cells present new possible means of curing diseases like diabetes, and heart diseases. However, there is still a lot that need to be done in clinics and laboratory to offer to understand on how to utilize these cells for diseases treatment through cell based therapies.
For and Against
Through the laboratory studies, scientists are able to learn the cells’ essential properties and make them different as compared with particular cell nature. Stem cells are already in use in the laboratories by scientists to monitor new drugs and develop new models that assist in studying normal growth and trace the causes of defects at birth. These researches continue to offer advanced knowledge on how organisms grows and develop from one cell and how replacement of damaged and healthy cells occurs in a mature organism. Stem cell study has proved to be one of the most appealing areas of modern biology, gut due to development of many fields of scientific inquiry this research has continued to raise as many scientific research questions as the new discoveries also emerges. Stem cells have unique features compared with other type of human body cells. All stem cells irrespective of their origin have three common characteristics; they have the capability of separating and replenishing for a considerable lengthy period’ they have unspecialized character. They are capable of giving increase in a specific type of cell found in the human body.
Unlike other cells like blood cells, cells in the muscle, or cells in the nerve, which can not replicate normally, stem cells replicate themselves as many times as possible. An initial inhabitant of stem cells can reproduce for months in the laboratory to yield cells in millions. If they continue in an unspecialized manner as the parent stem cell, they are capable of having a self-renewal in the long term. Scientists have taken their time to get the full understanding of the principles of stem cell that relates to the long run self renewal of the cells. They were concerned why an embryonic stem cell is capable of proliferating for more that a year in the laboratory devoid of separating which cannot happen in almost all non-embryonic stem cells. They also tried to understand the factors in the living organisms that usually regulate proliferation and self-renewal of stem cells. In discovering these concerns, it makes it possible for one to comprehend how cell proliferation is controlled during a normal development of an embryo or during the abnormal cell division, which causes cancer. This information enables the scientist to develop in the laboratory both embryonic and non-embryonic stem cells more effectively.
Special conditions and factors, which allow stem cells to stay unspecialized, are matters of significant importance to researchers. It took them quite a long time doing trial and errors that enable them learn how they develop and maintain cell without spontaneously differentiating into specific types of cells in the laboratory. For instance, subsequent to the improvement of conditions that enable growing of mouse stem cells, it took almost two decades to get the knowledge on how to grow in the laboratory embryo of human stem cells. Having an understanding of the signals that lead to a stem cell population to reproduce and stay unspecialized until these cells are needed in a mature organism. This information is crucial to scientist to assist him develop a gigantic figure in the laboratory of unspecialized stem cells for future experiments (Dani et al 1279–1285)
Stem cells being unspecialized is basic characteristics of a stem cell in that it lacks any specific tissue structure that would enable it do carry out specialized functions. For instance, a stem cell would be unable to function together with its neighbor to push blood throughout the body like the heart muscle does and it cannot transport molecules of oxygen throughout the bloodstreams like white cells. Nevertheless, unspecialized stem cells usually give rise to specialized stem cells such as blood cells, nerve cells, or heart muscle cells. This occurs through a process called differentiation. In this process, there are several stages through which cells usually go through; becoming more specialized at every stage. Scientists are gaining the understanding of the signals both in and out of the cell that activate each stem cell a process of differentiation. The interior indicators are controlled by genes in the cell, which are spread along DNA strands and perform a function of carrying implicit commands for all cellular functions and structures. External signals that show of cell differentiation comprise of chemical produced by other cells, their physical contact with other neighboring cells and specific molecules that exist in the microenvironment. Signals interaction during the process of differentiation makes the DNA of the cell get epigenetic marks that restricts expression of DNA in the cells and is able to pass on through the division of cells.
There are many questions regarding stem cell division that remain unsolved. For instance, do all stem cells have the same internal and external signal for cell differentiation? In a bid to answer the question, scientists have found innovative ways to managing stem cell separation in their laboratory experiments, thereby growing tissues and cells that are used for a specified purpose such as screening drugs or cell therapy. An adult stem cell usually generates a type of cell of the tissue it resides. A clear example is a blood producing mature stem cell that is found in the bone marrow usually gives rise to many different kind of blood cells. It is known clearly that the cells that form blood in the bone marrow (hematopoietic stem cell) are unable to give rise to cells that a very different tissue like the nerve cells found in the brains. From experience, it ha been proved that stem cells belonging to one tissue may replicate and produce cell types that belong to a totally special tissue. This poses a note that there is a need for debate in the research field. This argument shows the challenges of taking a study on adult cells and signifying that extra research that applies adult stem cells is quite essential in gaining the understanding of the entire potential of therapies in the future.
Why are people conducting stem cell research
An embryonic stem cell is derived from embryos. Most of them are derived from those embryos that that grow from eggs that are fertilized in vitro and then taken for the purpose of research after gain the permission of the giver. They are not taken from those eggs whose fertilization occurs at the body of the woman. Cell culture is the process of growing these cells in the laboratory. In a human being, embryonic stem cells are generated by transferring them from pre-implantation of the culture dish into a plastic laboratory that has nutrients broth. These cells divide and separate over the face of the dish. In the inner face of the dish, there is an embryonic skin cells coat of mouse embryonic skin cells that have been taken care of to limit them from dividing. The cell of the mouse at the base of the culture dish offers a sticky surface where they can attach. They also offer nutrients in to the culture medium. Through the research, there has an innovation of growing without using mouse feeder cells embryonic stem cells. This is a considerable advance because the risk that there could be a virus and other macromolecules in the cells of the mouse that may risk being transferred to the cells of a human being.
The process of producing a budding cell line in inefficient in a way. This is because cells are not always produced when cells are placed from the pre-implantation stage. However, in case of the plated cell survive, they divide and multiply enough and crowd the whole dish. This makes one to gently remove them and plate them in several other fresh culture dishes. This process is repeated for a number of times until the required cell line is established after the original cell produces embryonic stem cells in millions. At every stage in the process, cells in batches are shipped and frozen to another laboratory to continue with experiment and culture. At various stages in the practice of creating embryonic, scientists conduct the test for the cell to determine whether they the fundamental properties that can make embryonic stem cells. In the study of human embryonic stem cells, scientists have not agreed on the ordinary battery of examination that can be applied in making the fundamental properties of the cell (Evans & Kaufman 154-156). However, laboratories that that reproduce embryonic cell lines of human being use several type of tests. This in includes: mounting and subculturing the cells, application of specified techniques to evaluate the presence of transcription factors that are produced by undifferentiated cells among others.
Ethical, Social, Political Debate
Embryonic stem cells remain undifferentiated when they are developed under suitable conditions. Nevertheless, if they are allowed to clump they usually form embryoid bodies and begin to separate spontaneously. They are differentiating to form nerve cells, muscles cells, and other type of cell. Although differentiation shows that customs of embryonic stem cells is strong, it is not the best way to generate culture of a type of cell that is specific. To be able to generate culture of specified types of differentiated cells researchers try to manage the separation of the embryonic stem cells. They try to change the work of the customs medium, change the face of the customs dish, or try to change the cell by adding specific genes.
An adult stem cell is said to be the undifferentiated cells that are among the differentiated cells in that can repair it and can differentiate to give in some or all of the main specific type of cell of the organ or tissue (Fairchild et al 1515–1518). The main roles played by the mature stem cell in an organism are to repair and maintain the tissue where they are found. The scientists are also known to replace adult stem cells with somatic stem cell, where it is used to refer to the body cells. Unlike the stem cells of the embryonic, which are defined through their origin, an origin of stem cells adult is under investigation up to now.
Their researches have also generated a high level of excitement; they have discovered that the stem cells of the adults are in more tissues than they had thought. This has prompted researchers and clinical officers to researcher whether stem cells of adults can be applied for the transplants. This was found possible, and as adult blood, forming or stem cells of hematopoietic of the adults’ in the bone marrow are used in the transplant for over four decades. They have also proved that these cells are also common in the heart and brain. If this cells variation in the laboratory is controlled, this may be said to the bases for conducting therapies that relate to transplantation.
Advances in stem cell research
The history of this cells’ research is for more than 5 decades. In the early 1950, there was the discovery that the bone marrow has at least two different types of stem cells. They include; hematopoietic stem cells which is applicable in the formation of all types of the body blood cells and bone marrow stromal stem cells, which are made by stem cells of non-hematopoietic in the bone marrow. They produce bone, fat, cartilages, fibrous connective tissue, and cells that usually support the bold formation process. In the 1960s, the study of rats done by scientist discovered that there are two regions in the brain that have dividing cells that later become nerve cells (Lumelsky et al 1389–1394). Despite this report, many scientists have a believe that an adult brain could be unable to produce new nerve cells. Later in 1990s, scientists believed that an adult brain do contain stem cells that have the power to produce the three main cells types brain.
In conclusion, embryonic stem cells are easily grown in culture. They are rare mature tissue, thus the process of separating them from an adult tissue is a challenge, and the means to expand these cells are yet to be innovated. This distinction is critical since the many cells are required to conduct stem cell replacement therapies. Through research, scientists have reasons to prove that those tissues, which results from the embryonic and those from adult stem cells usually, differ in the likelihood of rejection after transplantation is done. Stem cells and tissues of adults are currently seen to start a rejection after transplantation. This is because cells belonging to as patient are capable of being expanded in culture, coaxed to make them acquire a specialized type of cell, and latter reintroduced back to the patient. The use of tissues and adult stem cells whose origin is the patient’s own adult stem cells would suggest that the cells are prone to rejection by the immune system in the body. This shows a merit as rejection of immune an only be circumvented only by immunosuppressive drugs continuous administration although this drugs also have side effects that are deleterious. Additional research need to be done on the stem cells although there are already research done which act as a useful tool for developing drugs and modeling diseases and scientist have confidence of applying them as transplantation medicine. Viruses are nowadays used to induce reprogramming factors into the cells of an adult. In animal, studies have shown that viruses that are applied to the stem cell factors may lead to cancer.
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