“Stem cell research saved my life!” For some this is true, and for others it's a moral infringement. For many religious groups this has been a very controversial, unethical way for scientist to commit murder in the name of science. On the contrary for those riddled with diseases it's a chance at a new life. Scientist have come so far over the last few decades in their research, if we now stopped researching stem cell therapy, it would be an enfeeblement to medical technology. It is very important that we find a happy medium for both sides of this controversial matter so that we may continue to explore cure options. Most wonder how can regenerative stem therapies help heal patients? Has Japanese scientist Haruko Obokata found the answer to ethical stem cell replication (Connor)? And how can we satisfy the religious communities on this topic?
Some may ask “What are stem cells?” Little knowledge of this form of cellular therapy is why it's commonly misunderstood. In brief, the historical time line of stem cell research is very progressive. Since the early 1800's stem cells were considered the building blocks for human life and proved to reproduce other cells. Stem cell therapy is the process of regenerating human cells and restoring the organs normal function (“Regenerative”). Stem cell research dates back to the early 1920's. In 1928 doctors made several failed attempts to transplant fetal pancreas cells into diabetes patients but the research still continued (Stem). According to Harvard Stem Cell Institute there are an estimated 800 lines of stem cells around the world (Interlandi).
Stem cells are categorized by their potential to differentiate into other cell types. The classifications are as follows: Totipotent- the ability to differentiate into all possible cell types, Pluripotent the ability to differentiate into almost all cell types, Multipotent- the ability to differentiate into a closely related family of cells, Oligopotent- the ability to differentiate into a few cells and Unipotent- the ability to only produce cells of their own type, but have self renewing properties.
Scientific information states two types of stem cells: embryonic stem cells, conceived embryos formed in the blastocyst phase of embryological development. And there is adult tissue or somatic stem cells. Both types of stem cells are particularize by their strength and potential to severalize into different cell types I.E skin, bone, muscle etc. (Crosta).
Adult stem cells exist inside the body after embryonic development and are inside various different tissue types. Stem cells can also be found in tissues like the brain, skin, liver, blood, blood vessels and skeletal muscles. These cells remain dormant until stimulated by injury or disease. Scientist have an understanding that adult stem cells can divide endlessly. This particular trait allows them the capability to generate a range of cell types from the original organ (Crosta).
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