Stemcells are cells that can divide into more specialized types of cells.They usually split through mitosis to regenerate. These types ofcells are majorly found in a multicellular organism (Parker et al738). In mammals, for instance, they are sourced from embryos andadult tissues. Whereas the embryonic stem cells are sourced from theembryos during the blastocyst stage of embryonic development, inadults they are derived from various body parts such as bone marrow,skeletal muscles, skin, brain and blood vessels. They are used forfixing and replenish tissues (Piore 42). As such, stem cells inadults are self- renewed and they can quickly regenerate to a widerange of cells just from the original organs. However, some factssuggest that stem cells may differentiate to form unique types ofcells in adults.
Muchis involved in the research of stem cells, their history, and thepresent state of the research in the field, the medical uses, andsetbacks that are worth discussing.
Whatis involved in the Research and Practice of ?
Often,the stem cells are either derived from a mutating zygote or an adulttissue (Parker et al 740). The derived cells are then transferred andput in a controlled environment that hinders them fromdifferentiating further. In this state the cells can only split andduplicate though they maintain their capability to form any cell inthe body. As such, these cells are in the long run stirred to formspecific cells.
Additionally,the research may stimulate the stem cell to specialize to aparticular type of cells in a process known as directeddifferentiation (Ahmadian 3). In this process, embryonic cells areoften used since they have the capacity to separate into varioustypes of cells as compared to adult stem cells.
Sincethe invention of the microscope in the 19th-century, scientists havebeen keen in the study of the cell. Unlike before, celldifferentiation was seen for the very first time cells wereacknowledged to be the fundamental structures of life and able ofgiving rise to other cells. The cells equally played an important inunderstanding human being development processes. However, it was notuntil the 20th century that researchers found out that all types ofblood cells trace their origin from one particular cell- stem cell.
In1963, Ernest McCulloch and James Till, all Canadian researchers wereable to discover the self-regenerating behaviors of a transplantedmouse bone marrow cells (Parker et al 740). Since then researchersbecame interested in adult stem cells of both human and animals andthe studies have been ongoing. Between the 1980s and 90s, theadvancement in biotechnology enabled the introduction of proceduresand techniques that aimed at changing genetic materials andtechnology of growing human cells in the labs. These developmentsresulted in the advancements in the field of research and study ofhuman stem cell.
Atthe tail end of the 20th century, a scientist at the University ofWisconsin James Thompson established the first embryonic stem cellline that is still in existence to date. This move is after heultimately extracted cells from extra embryos at a fertility clinicand grew them in the lab. Subsequently, stem cells research wasprojected into a new level. As a result of this discovery, availableevidence insinuate that the embryonic stem cells can probablyspecialize into any specific cells in the body, thus capable ofbreeding replacement cells for various tissues and body organs(Ahmadian 7).
TheCurrent Status of Research
Currently,the research on stem cell is a notch higher, notably hundreds ofresearch papers have been published in highly regarded scientific andresearch journals on adult stem cells as well as embryonic stem cellson a yearly basis. Although the research on adult stem cells hasyielded tangible outcomes, the embryonic stem cells research stillhas not (Ahmadian 10). In fact, adult stem cells are used in thecuring of various conditions such as heart diseases, leukemia amongothers.
Equally,the current research focuses on conservation measures. For example,spermatogonial stem cells have been extracted from rats andsubsequently introduced into a mouse host for entirely mature spermsfor the production of viable offspring. As such, sperm production canbe made from genetically quality persons who die before they attainsexual maturity for preservation purposes in case this researchproofs viable.
Withless doubt, research for stem cells is certainly continuous andequally unpredictable. Currently, stem cell research is conducted inthree broad areas. The areas include the biology of the stem cell,which entails how cells change from early state to specific cellstools crucial to carry out stem cells research efficiently andresearch into which diseases may be treated particularly by stem celltechnique (Ahmadian 12).
Nevertheless,if researchers and scientists would comprehend the biochemistry ofstem cell development the stem cell technology would ultimately beemployed to create tissues and organs that are replaceable andadditionally repair the damaged tissues and organs (Piore 44).Assuch, efforts should be taken to ensure stem cell research isprogressive so as to realize this major goal.
Boththe scientists and researchers are interested in stem cells forvaried reasons with a majority of them converging to the medicalbenefits accrued from stem cells (Parker et al 742). As such, therevarious medical uses that arise from stem cells for instance, intissue regeneration. Tissue regeneration is one of the criticalapplications of stem cells. In patients with burns, stem cells thatlie beneath the skin have been used to replenish or otherwiseconstruct new skin tissues for these victims. Moreover, stem cellsmay be directed to differentiate in a particular manner to grow intoan organ or tissue that is then transplanted to a patient in need ofthat particular body.
Stemcells also have been used to treat brain infections and illnesseslike Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s through refilling the destroyedtissue (Ahmadian 15). This aspect has enabled rejuvenating thespecialized cells that contain the unwanted muscles from moving.Furthermore, embryonic stem cells have since been able to be directedto differentiate into these particular cells hence making the healingachievable.
Formany years now the adult hematopoietic stem cells, which areestablished in the bone marrow have been of enormous help in thetreatment of disease like sickle cell anemia, leukemia among others(Ahmadian 16). These types of cells have the capacity to produceevery blood cell type in the blood. Although obtaining these kinds ofcells is a difficulty, hematopoietic stem cells have been found inthe placenta and umbilical cord. Hence, this has made these cellseasily extractable.
Embryonicstem cells have been widely used in tendon repair and joint repairsin both animals and human beings. For instance, in racehorse stemcells have been functional fixing injuries in ligaments and tendons.However, the introduction of adipose extracted from stem cells sawthe regeneration of the muscle tissues. Essentially, stem cellsenable a high quality of repair as well as minimal re-injury to thehorse over a longer period.
Notwithstandingthe significant steps that stem cells have made in the treatment of awide variety of diseases, there are worries about the possible threatof the outcomes from stem cells therapies (Parker et al 745). Assuch, both the researchers and the scientist must ponder the risksthat the stem cells technology poses medical and the scientificfields. One of the medical problems posed by the stem cells is theuncontrolled growth of the cells. Young cells have the potential togrow very quickly. Granted that embryonic stem cells are directed tospecialize into specific cell types great caution has to be taken tokeep the stem cells under control otherwise, they might overgrow intotumors which can be fatal.
Onthe same note, the embryonic stem cells may be misdirected todifferentiate into undesired cell types or tissues (Piore 45).As aresult, researchers take great caution and control to direct the stemcells to differentiate into the desired cell types. To prevail overthis challenge, scientists have started to stimulate a partial stemcell differentiation preceding the transplanting process. Therefore,managing the possibility of the cells differentiating into unwantedtissues after transplant process has taken place.
Anothermedical problem that is associated with stem cells is the possibletransmission of the virus to the patients that host the transplantorgan or tissue. The patients who benefit from operations takeadamant medicine that wipes the entire immune system for the body toaccept the transplanted organ. Possibly the stem cell therapy mightpass on tiny agent causing diseases to the patient since the agentcausing infections is contained in the transplanted tissue or organand the immune system is absent (Ahmadian 19). Equally, diseasesfrom various animals may pass onto human beings that are benefitingfrom stem cell therapies. This concept is particularly possible ifanimal nutrients are used in humanizing the stem cells once they arein the laboratories. Although stem cell treatment is becoming moreacceptable and preferable in treating deadly diseases today, it isimportant to assess and take caution on the medical problemsaforementioned.
Itis important to note, that stem cells have brought new life and hopein the medical field. With this technique, serious diseases have beenmanaged as well as treated as mentioned above. The paper hasadequately focused on its principal purpose of assessing andexamining the practices involved in stem cells research, what theresearch entails in its current status. Equally the paper has tracedthe history of stem cell research when it started its progress andunderlying future perspectives. Additionally, the work also looked atthe medical benefits as well as medical problems that emanate fromthe stem cells therapies and treatments. In a general sense, thepaper has fulfilled its purpose.
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Parker,Scott, and Paul England."Where Now for Stems CellPatents?"Journalof Intellectual Property Law and Practice.7.10 (2012): 738-746. Print.
Piore,Adam. "."Discover37.6 (2016): 42-45. AcademicSearch Premier.Web. 4 Nov. 2016.