What is the Purpose of Stem Cells?
Stem cells are undifferentiated biological cells that can differentiate into specialized cells and can divide (through mitosis) to produce more stem cells.
In mammals, there are two broad types of stem cells: embryonic stem cells, which are isolated from the inner cell mass of blastocysts, and adult stem cells, which are found in various tissues.
In adult organisms, stem cells and progenitor cells act as a repair system for the body, replenishing adult tissues. In a developing embryo, stem cells can differentiate into all the specialized cells: ectoderm, endoderm, and mesoderm but also maintain the normal turnover of regenerative organs, such as blood, skin, or intestinal tissues.
There are three known accessible sources of autologous adult stem cells in humans:
1. Bone marrow, which requires extraction by harvesting, that is, drilling into bone (typically the femur or iliac crest),
2. Adipose tissue (lipid cells), which requires extraction by liposuction
3. Blood, which requires extraction through apheresis, wherein blood is drawn from the donor (similar to a blood donation), and passed through a machine that extracts the stem cells and returns other portions of the blood to the donor.
Stem cells can also be taken from umbilical cord blood just after birth. Of all stem cell types, autologous harvesting involves the least risk.
By definition, autologous cells are obtained from one's own body, just as one may bank his or her own blood for elective surgical procedures.
Adult stem cells are frequently used in medical therapies, for example in bone marrow transplantation.
Stem cells can now be artificially grown and transformed (differentiated) into specialized cell types with characteristics consistent with cells of various tissues such as muscles or nerves.
Embryonic cell lines and autologous embryonic stem cells generated through Somatic-cell nuclear transfer or dedifferentiation have also been proposed as promising candidates for future therapies.
The classical definition of a stem cell requires that it possess two properties:
1. Self-renewal: the ability to go through numerous cycles of cell division while maintaining the undifferentiated state.
2. Potency: the capacity to differentiate into specialized cell types. In the strictest sense, this requires stem cells to be either totipotent or pluripotent—to be able to give rise to any mature cell type, although multipotent or unipotent progenitor cells are sometimes referred to as stem cells.
Apart from this, it is said that stem cell function is regulated in a feedback mechanism.
Embryonic stem cell
Can develop into each of the more than 200 cell types of the adult body when given sufficient and necessary stimulation for a specific cell type.
Adult stem cell
Adult stem cells are stem cells that maintain and repair the tissue in which they are found. They can be found in children, as well as adults.
Bone marrow is a rich source of adult stem cells, which have been used in treating several conditions including spinal cord injury, liver cirrhosis, chronic limb ischemia, and endstage heart failure.
Adult stem cell treatments have been successfully used for many years to treat leukemia and related bone/blood cancers through bone marrow transplants.
Stem cell therapy
Diseases and conditions where stem cell treatment is promising or emerging. Diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's disease, osteoarthritis:
Stem cell therapy is the use of stem cells to treat or prevent a disease or condition.
There are majorly three types of stem cells; they are Hematopoietic stem cells, Mesenchymal stem cells, and endothelial stem cells.
With the help of stem cells, few organs and limbs can be developed in labs and then used for transplantation. Many drugs are being tested on stem cells and not on animals or human testers. Stem cells can detect the power of the drugs and assist to detect the effect in humans.
It is believed that the study and the usage of stem cells would change the world of science. The capability to renew itself is very vital. Any kind of transplantation would mainly require stem cells.