In addition, various researchers have found special kind of cells that have immense ability to multiply and regenerate organs known as stem cells.
Most of all, cells within a human being or an animal are committed to fulfilling a single function within the body. In our body, we have a variety of fully differentiated cells, most of them specific to individual organs.
Almost every day, a normal human being loses and replaces about 1011 red blood cells/small intestinal cells and an additional quantity of 1.5 grams of epidermal cells but they cannot regenerate the whole organs.
WHAT ARE STEM CELLS
- Stem cells are cells found in most of the multi-cellular organisms. Due to which they have the ability to renew themselves through mitotic cell division and differentiating into a diverse range of specialized cell types.
- So, they contain DNA- cell’s genetic material.
- Therefore, they have the ability to undergo cell division and replication.
- Found in different tissues and have the potential to differentiate into cells. Because of which they have commendable qualities for the development, growth, maintenance, and repair of our brains, bones, muscles, nerves, blood, skin and other organs.
In mammals, there are two broad types of embryonic stem cells which are isolated from the inner cell mass of blastocysts, and adult stem cells, and are found in various tissues. These are somatic cells and germline cells.
Somatic cells make up every part of your body from your eyes, to your skin, to your heart except reproductive cells. Another two sets of an identical chromosome present in it.
Germline cells cell that has one set of a chromosome and has the ability to transfer genetic information to next generations during sexual reproduction with females and males carrying different types and they form a zygote. Finally, it will go through several divisions to form into pluripotent cells called stem cells.
- Research in the field of human stem cells by Canadian scientist Ernest a. McCulloch and James E. Till in 1960.
- In 1998 James Thomson, at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, successfully removed cells from spare embryos at fertility clinics and grew them in the laboratory and establishing the world first human embryonic stem cell line.
- But stem cells research first became a topic of widespread public attention in 2001, when President George W. Bush authorized the use of federal funds for research on existing embryonic stem cell lines.
- Till date, various researchers have harnessed the ability of stem cells and reported that these cells hold great potential as tools for medical research and as therapeutic agents.
TYPES OF STEM CELLS
Totipotent:- Cells that are capable of forming a completely new embryo that can develop into a new organism are called totipotent. A fertilized egg is totipotent.
Pluripotent:- Cells that have the potential to develop into any of the cell types found in an adult organism are called pluripotent. Embryonic stem cells are pluripotent.
Multipotent:- Cells that only have the potential to make a few cell types in the body are called multipotent. Adult stem cells appear to be multipotent.
SOURCES OF STEM CELLS
1) Adult stem cells
- Bone Marrow
- Skeletal Muscle and Heart
- Fat Tissue
- Peripheral Blood
- Cornea, Intestines, etc
2) Embryonic stem cells
- Umbilical cord blood
DISEASE TREATED WITH STEM CELLS
- Alzheimer’s, Autism, Autoimmune diseases, Anemias
- Bone and cartilage deformities, Burns, Cancer (brain, breast, ovarian, etc.)
- Cerebral palsy, Corneal scarring, Crone’s disease
- Diabetes, Heart disease, Immunodeficiencies, Repair of cardiac tissue
- Leukemias, Lymphomas, Melanoma, Multiple sclerosis, Multiple myelomas, Muscular dystrophy
- Neural blastoma, Osteoarthritis, Paralysis, Parkinson’s Disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis, Scleroderma, Scleromixadema, Spinal cord damage, Stroke, Systemic lupus, Tendonitis.
THERAPIES IN INDIA
- Tata Memorial – Mumbai
- Adyar Cancer Center & Apollo Specialty Center- Chennai
- Apollo Hospital, Global Hospital & NIMS – Hyderabad
- Narayana Hruduyalaya, Manipal Hospitals & Trinity Hospital -Bangalore
- Christian Medical College – Vellore
- R&R Army Hospital & AIIMS – New Delhi
- Inlaks Hospital & Armed Forces Medical College – Pune
- Sanjay Gandhi PGIMS – Lucknow
- Layton Bioscience, Atherton, CA (Fetal neural stem cells)
- Reneuron, London, UK (Neural stem cells)
- Stem Cell Sciences, Melbourne, Australia (Embryonic stem cells)
- Osiris Therapeutics, Baltimore, MD (Mesenchymal stem cells)
Nowadays, there are many methods through which stem cells are preserved and used for curing many diseases.
At the time of childbirth, the blood obtained from the umbilical cord is called Cord Blood. After detaching the cord from the newborn baby, it is extracted from the fetal end of the cord.
The cryopreservation of accumulated cord blood is carried out at -196°C & then piled up in a cord blood bank for future transplant.
Public preserve cord blood cells, used by any other person except family members if the bone marrow of the person matches with the child’s bone marrow.
Private only the family person can use the bone marrow if it matches.
ETHICAL ISSUES IN STEM CELL THERAPY
It involves the destruction of an embryo or fetus. Once the cells are removed from the blastocyst, the embryo is unable to survive and ends up getting destroyed in the process.
Hundreds and thousands of these are stored in clinics. Destruction of potential humans and conflicts with religious and moral views, held in our society.
Therefore, In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) generates large numbers of unused embryos (e.g. 70,000 in Australia alone). Many of them are slated for destruction.
Hence, ethical issues surrounding the origin of embryonic stem cell will always be a sensitive issue.
Examine the scientific, technical, ethical, legal & social issues involving human embryonic stem cells research.
- International society for stem cell research (ISSCR)
- National Apex Committees for stem cells Research & Therapy (NAC-SCRT)
- An Institutional Committee for stem cell Research & Therapy (IC-SCRT)
- Embryonic stem cells research overnight committee (ESCRO)
RESEARCH PROGRAM (UNIVERSITIES AND INSTITUTION)
- HARVARD STEM CELL INSTITUTE
- JOHNS HOPKINS INSTITUTE FOR CELL ENGINEERING(ICE)
- NATIONAL HUMAN NEURAL STEM CELL RESOURCE
- TEXAS HEART INSTITUTE STEM CELL CENTRE
- UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN/EMBRYONIC STEM CELL RESEARCH
In conclusion, research continues to advance knowledge about how an organism develops from a single cell and how healthy cells replace damaged cells in adult organisms.
The Stem cell research is one of the fascinating areas of contemporary biology but, as with scientific inquiry research on stem cells raises scientific questions as rapidly as it generates new discoveries.
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