Stem cells are blank or undifferentiated cells. It means they can develop in units that serve different functions in various parts of our body. Most cells in our body are differentiated. They can only serve a particular purpose in a specific organ. For instance, RBCs are mainly designed to carry oxygen all over the body.
The human body starts as one cell. This unit is called a fertilized egg or zygote. It divides into two units, then four, then eight, and so on. Traditionally, they begin to differentiate, taking on a particular function in the body. This process is commonly called differentiation.
SCs are units that have not differentiated yet. They have the capabilities to divide and make an unlimited number of copies of themselves. Other body units can only reproduce themselves a limited number of times before they start to break down. When these things divide, it can either remain as is or turn into differentiated cells like a muscle, nerve, or Red Blood cells.
How RBCs are produced? Check out this site for details.
Since they have the capability to turn into different types of cells, experts believe that they can be pretty useful when it comes to understanding and treating diseases. According to medical establishments, SCs can be used to:
Generate new cells in laboratories to help replace damaged tissues or organs
Remedy organ parts that do not work properly
Help research the causes of genetic problems or defects in the cell
Help research how diseases happen or why a particular cell develops into a cancerous one
Types of SCs
Various types of SCs can be used for various purposes.
Embryonic – They come from human embryos – usually three to five days old. These cells are harvested during the in-vitro fertilization process. It involves fertilizing the embryo in laboratories instead of inside the woman’s reproductive system. Embryonic is also called pluripotent SCs. These units can give rise to any type of cell in our body.
Non-embryonic or adult – Non-embryonic units have a misleading name because they can also be found in children or infants. They come from developing tissues and organs in our body. They are used by our body to replace and repair damaged tissues in the same place where the damaged ones are found. For instance, hematopoietic SCs are a kind of adult unit found in the bone marrow.
These units make new RBCs, WBCs, and other kinds of blood cells. Medical professionals have been performing transplants like bone marrow transplants for many years using HSCs in order to treat various kinds of cancer. These things cannot differentiate into as many types as embryonic can.
Induced pluripotent SCs or iPSCs – Experts have recently found out how to turn them into pluripotent ones. These new kinds of cells are called iPSCs. They can differentiate into all kinds of specialized units in the body. It means that they can produce new units for any tissues and organs. To generate iPSCs, medical professionals genetically reprogram the adult SCs, so they behave like their embryonic counterparts.
Visit https://stemcellres.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13287-019-1455-y to know more about iPSCs.
This breakthrough has created a process to de-differentiate the SCs. It may make them very useful in understanding the development of certain diseases. Experts are hoping that these units can be made from people’s own skin to treat diseases. It will prevent the immune system from rejecting the organ after the transplant.
Cord blood and amniotic fluid SCs – These things are harvested from the umbilical cord after giving birth. These things can be frozen in a cell bank facility for future use. They have been successfully used to treat children or infants suffering from cancers like leukemia and specific genetic blood disorders. Stem cells are also found in the amniotic fluid. It is the fluid that is around the developing baby inside the womb. But more research is still needed to help understand the possible uses of AFSC.
Research about this topic has the potential to have a considerable impact on people’s health. But there are also controversies around its usage, development, as well as the destruction of human embryos. Experts may be able to ease these problems by using a more modern method that can turn ASC into pluripotent ones, which can change into any type of cell. It would eliminate the need for ESC in research. These breakthroughs will show a lot of progress that has been made in research.
Despite the advancements in this industry, there is still more to be done before experts can create successful treatments like Stem Cell vitamins and supplements. That is why it is necessary for people who want to undergo this type of treatment to do their own research to make sure that it will be beneficial to their well-being. This therapy can do wonders if given to the right patient.