Stem cells have the potential to differentiate into different types of cells in the body, both in the early stages of development and during growth. In addition, in some cases, they can be used to regenerate organs. Newly created cells (division) have the potential to remain strains or transform cells with more specialized functions, for example: muscular.
Types of stem cells
Stem cells (because of their origin) are divided into embryonic and somatic. Somatic stem cells come from undifferentiated cells that are part of the diverse cells of the organ or tissue. Somatic stem cells are multipotent, have limited ability to differentiate into only a few cell types. Embryonic stem cells are obtained from embryos. Most embryonic stem cells are obtained from fertilized embryos in vitro. Embryos are pluripotent, which means that stem cells can be differentiated into any stem cell.
Somatic stem cells give rise to high hopes in transplantation, such as the discharge of the cells themselves, and then differentiated into stem cells considerably reduce the risk of rejection of the transplant by the immune system.
Characteristics of stem cells
Stem cells play an important role in living organisms. In the tissues of the adult body (including muscles, blood, bone marrow, corneas, liver, nervous system, pancreas, intestine, skin and brain tumors and retina) the division of stem cells regenerates these organs. While in the form of three to five days share the embryo (blastocyst) various organs to form the body.
In some organs, for example, the bone marrow, they divide regularly to regenerate or replace damaged fragments. However, in other organs, such as the heart, these cells divide only under specific conditions. Stem cells differ from other types of cells by three basic characteristics. First, they have the ability to renew and divide after a long period of time when they were in an inactive state. Second, they are undifferentiated. Third, they can become specialized cells in good conditions.
Stem Cell Research
Many aspects of stem cells remain a mystery to us. The fundamental problems that scientists are trying to solve are:
- In which tissues and organs are there somatic stem cells?
- From where the stem cells get a signal that induces divisions?
- How to safely transform somatic stem cells into pluripotent cells?
- How stem cells become specialized cells?
- Why somatic stem cells remain undifferentiated between heterogeneous cells?
The use of stem cells
The capacity of stem cells for the potential development of a specialized cell trying to use in the treatment of certain diseases, such as heart disease, liver disease, kidney disease, Parkinson's disease, diabetes, blindness , cystic fibrosis, osteoporosis, Alzheimer's disease. But many additional laboratory tests are needed to fully understand the mechanisms of stem cell function and to be able to fully utilize them in medicine. They also allow you to discover how an organism develops from a single cell. Stem cells can also be used for cloning. This aspect of its application is currently the most controversial. It is very important to control divisions so that tumors can not appear as a result of uncontrolled proliferation. Stem cells are also used to understand the mechanisms, safety and efficacy of new drugs. Thanks to them, scientists can learn more about the functioning systems of normal growth factors, thus identifying the molecular causes of many diseases.
Induced pluripotent stem cells
Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSCs) are obtained from genetically modified somatic stem cells. They have similar properties to embryonic stem cells, they are pluripotent. Currently used to generate iPSCs are viruses, but the process must be fully understood before applying this technique in the treatment of humans. Especially since some studies have shown that the viruses used to create iPSC have induced cancers.