Who Discovered Stem Cells ?


Who Discovered Stem Cells ?  

The term stem cell was introduced by Alexander Maksimov, a Russian histologist, in 1908. The name stem cells was given to the newly found haematopoietic stem cells. Thereafter, for around sixty long years nothing much was studied or discovered about stem cells.

It was in the 60s that 2 Canadian scientists, James E. Till and Ernest A. McCulloch, found out self repairing cells from the bone marrow of a mouse. These findings gave a head start to many other researches and investigations. In 1978, haematopoietic stem cells were extracted from the human cord cells, and again in 1981, embryonic stem cells were recovered from the inner layer of the blastocyst known as the embryoblast. This was pioneered by 3 scientists, namely Martin Evans, Mathew Kaufman and Gail R. Martin.

The discovery of embryonic and adult stem cells was a boon for medical science because these cells have the tremendous potential of dividing and diversifying into various other types of cells. The development of new cells further gives rise to new tissues and then one complete organ. Scientist have so far discovered two ways of obtaining stem cells one from the human embryo and other from the human adult from their bone marrow, amniotic fluid, umbilical cord, blood, placenta and adipose tissues.

The adult stems are basically utilized for carrying out repair and regeneration of new tissues and organs. The stem cells that are extracted from umbilical cord can be successfully stored in cryogenic banks, and can be utilized for repairing and regenerating as and when required. However, the embryonic stem cells possess the potential of distinguishing into as many as two hundred kinds of human cells. These can be widely used for treating diseases such as cancer, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, hypertension, and burns and other types of injuries.

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