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Stem Cell - Research Paper Example

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Running Head: STEM CELL RESEARCH Stem Cell Research [Name] [University] Stem Cell Research The history and science of stem cell research In the past several years, stem cell research has attracted a lot of interests and many investigators. These interests and investigations intensified after the announcements by scientists that they are now able to isolate and grow cultures of self- renewing human embryonic stem cells (Ling, 1)…
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Stem Cell Research
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Download file to see previous pages The goal of this paper is to provide a general historical and scientific background of the research. First, the scientific background of stem cell research will be discussed. This would entail the exposition of stem cell technology, including the functions and the potential uses of stem cells. It would also entail a description of the various sources of stem cells, that is, adult stem cells and embryonic stem cells. The advantages and disadvantages of these stem cells as a source of stem cell research and therapies will be noted. Stem cell technology An adult vertebrate is estimated to compose of more than two hundred different types of cells (Marshak et al. 4). These cells are the fundamental units of life, the building blocks of all tissue, and the source of all extracellular matrix and interstitial fluids. The cells undergo changes throughout their existence. Sometimes, these changes through extrinsic or intrinsic causes may result in damage or loss of the cells. If the damage or loss of the cells is irreversible, it can be permanently debilitating or lethal, causing degenerative diseases. For instance, the loss of cardiomyocytes may lead to heart failure, the loss of neurons may lead to Parkinson's, dementias, ataxia, stroke, or paralysis, the loss of renal cells may lead to kidney failure, and the loss of hematopoietic cells may lead to bone marrow failures or anemias. Unfortunately, conventional drug therapies (small-molecule chemicals) are unable currently to stimulate fully functional cell or tissue replacement for these diseases (Harley and Rao in Arlene and Mahendra 239). However, research on human stem cells promises the development of alternative therapies for the treatment of these diseases. Stem cell research continues to fuel the expectation that an array of promising novel cellular therapeutics will be developed. It is anticipated that the therapies either comprised of or derived from human stem cells will be effective in treating a broad spectrum of medical conditions that necessitate replacement, restoration, repair, or regeneration of damaged or diseased cells, tissues and organ systems (Fink et al. in Arlene and Mahendra 323). Stem cell technology aims at channeling these special cells with high proliferative capacity into specified differentiation programs within the body for therapeutic uses. Nevertheless, the development of the stem cell therapies will not be an easy task. The successful development of the therapies will depend on the scientists’ ability to direct the cells into specific pathways and then support the survival and differentiation of individual somatic stem/progenitor cells (Zhang in Arlene and Mahendra 145). Stem cell and its functions Stem cells are defined as a cell population that has the capacity both to self-renew and to give rise to at least one kind of non-dividing, fully differentiated descendant (Hogan 189). It is noteworthy that most of the definitions of stem cells include a notion of self-renewal, coupled with a potential to generate one or more differentiated descendant cell types (Lumelsky in Arlene and Mahendra 162). There are three essential properties of stem cells: unspecialized, self-renewal and differentiation. Stem cells are unspecialized cells, that is, they do not posses ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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