Types of Stem Cells

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Stem cells are special cells that has the capability to change into specialized or specific type of cells and can divide to produce more stem cells. Stem cells are found all over the body and transform to different types of cells at different times in our lives. These cells are critical in helping in tissue repair and cell rejuvenation.






Types of Stem cells

Stem cells are basically classified as adult stem cells and embryonic stem cells.

Embryonic stem cells are extracted from the blastocyst stage during the early development of the embryo, after which the cells are placed in laboratory dish filled with special medium for the cells to continue to grow. These special cells are generated mainly from blastocysts that are the result of in vitro fertilization.

Adult Stem Cells or tissue-specific stem cells since each type  of adult stem cell produces only a limited set of specialized cells characteristic of a specific tissue ex. blood, dermis, etc. In adults, tissue specific stem cells are found throughout the body. Hemapoietic stem cells found in umbilical cord blood and bone morrow, which makes up all the different blood cell types are the easiest to isolate, and had been used for stem cell therapy for decades.

Some organs or tissues within the body contain small amounts of tissue-specific stem cells that lie dormant, in which are reactivated when need to repair or replace damaged or old cells. There are also active stem cells found in the skin, blood, lining of the gut and hair cells, these organs continuously need to produce cells in order to function properly.





Use of stem cells

Stem cells has vast applications in the field of medicine. Many disease that are once known to be incurable can be treated with stem cell therapy. Currently only adult stem cells are used for therapy versus embryonic stem cells which is a more promising treatment modality, are quite controversial because of moral issues.




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Stem cells hold the promise of treatments and cures for many diseases and conditions that affect millions of people.

 

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