Stem Cell FactsStem cell has received tremendous attention from the press and media lately. Many medical researchers believe in its remarkable potential. Some believe that it will be one of the most important medical discoveries in the history.
What are stem cells? Stem cells are cells that have ability to regenerate themselves through the process of mitotic cell division. These cells can grow and turn into specialized cells such as intestinal tissues, skin, blood, brain, and nerve cell. Stem cells are different from other cells by 2 characteristics. First, these cells are unspecialized cells. They can be inactivity for a long time. Second, these cells can become tissue and organ under a specific condition. These cells can regularly divide to repair some organs like guts and bone marrow.
The potential applications of stem cells in medicine are endless. Scientists can use these cells to get better understanding of the most serious medical conditions like birth defect and cancer.
Stem cells will allow researchers to test new drugs more effectively. Sometimes researchers need create identical condition to test certain drugs effectively. Mimic identical condition of cells can be a daunting task, but it is possible with stem cells.
Finally, cell-based therapies are probably the most potential application. Today, the need for organ transplant exceeds the available supply. Cell-based therapies offer the possibility to renew damaged cells and tissues to cure diseases like spinal cord, burns, heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. For instance, a patient with damaged heart may get new healthy heart muscle cells from laboratory, instead of a donor.
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