Stem Cell Technologies. Essay

1317 words - 5 pages

Stem Cell TechnologiesTechnological advances in this day and age have givenscientists the ability to do things that were only dreamed aboutin the past. With all the advances in medical technology thereare still diseases, illnesses and conditions that cannot betreated or cured effectively. New discoveries and complicationscommonly come about in today's world. Scientists are studyinghuman embryonic stem cells, which includes: how an organismdevelops from a single cell and how healthy cells replace damagedcells in adult organisms. The study of stem cells is alsoleading scientists to discoveries in regenerative or reparativemedicine. This research of stem cells and their possible abilityto treat certain diseases has quickly grown popular ever since animportant discovery in 1998. Scientists discovered how toisolate stem cells from human embryos and grow the cells in thelaboratory. In this new area of Science, questions arise asrapidly as new discoveries are made.Over 20 years ago, scientists discovered ways to obtain stemcells from a mouse embryo. With only 20 years of research,there's a lot still yet to discover about stem cells and how theycan help us. There are two characteristics that separate stemcells from other cells. Stem cells are unspecialized cells, andthey can be induced to become cells with special functions.Embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells are the two commonlyused by scientists. It is believed that someday in the future,stem cells will provide the basis for treating serious diseases.Parkinson's disease, cystic fibrosis, diabetes, paralysis,Alzheimer's disease, spinal cord injury, heart disease, etc.,could all be cured one day if the controversies don't delay theresearch. The possibilities, depending on what scientistsdiscover, could change the world and science forever.Embryonic stem cells are found in the inner mass of thehuman blastocyst, which is an early stage of the developingembryo lasting four to seven days after fertilization. Embryonicstem cells are obtained in three ways. First, from frozenembryos, which come from fertility clinics, donated by infertilecouples who no longer need them for pregnancy. Secondly, theycan be obtained from fresh embryos which are now being createdspecifically for research by at least one fertility clinic.Finally, cloned embryos are used by removing the genetic materialfrom a living cell and implanting it into the nucleus of a humanegg. Under appropriate culture conditions, embryonic stem cellshave remarkably demonstrated an ability to self-renewcontinuously.Adult stem cells can be obtained from a woman's umbilicalcord, or from an adult or child. Umbilical cord blood is rich instem cells that can be used as a part of the therapy of nearly 50deadly diseases! For a certain amount of money, many parents arechoosing to have these specific stem cells saved for later use.If preserved, these stem cells are available, if needed, for usein health treatments for the child, a sibling, or another...

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