• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Stem cells are of great interest to medicine and science because of their ability to develop into virtually any other cell made by the human body.

Extracts from this document...


Stem cells are of great interest to medicine and science because of their ability to develop into virtually any other cell made by the human body. Because undifferentiated stem cells can proliferate indefinitely in culture, they could potentially provide an unlimited source of specific, clinically important adult cells such as bone, muscle, liver or blood cells. Stem cells come in three forms: embryonic stem cells, embryonic germ cells and adult stem cells. Embryonic stem cells come from embryos, embryonic germ cells from testes, and adult stem cells can come from bone marrow. Embryonic stem cells can become any type of cell while adult stem cells are more limited. But recent evidence suggests it may be possible to reprogram adult stems to repair tissues. Human embryonic stem cells are derived from fertilized embryos less than a week old. Using 14 blastocysts obtained from donated, surplus embryos produced by in vitro fertilization, a group of UW-Madison developmental biologists led by James Thomson established five independent stem cell lines in November 1998. This was the first time human embryonic stem cells had been successfully isolated and cultured. ...read more.


The study of human development also benefits from embryonic stem cell research. The earliest stages of human development have been difficult or impossible to study. Human embryonic stem cells offer insights into developmental events that cannot be studied directly in humans in utero or fully understood through the use of animal models. Understanding the events that occur at the first stages of development has potential clinical significance for preventing or treating birth defects, infertility and pregnancy loss. A thorough knowledge of normal development could ultimately allow the prevention or treatment of abnormal human development. For instance, screening drugs by testing them on cultured human embryonic stem cells could help reduce the risk of drug-related birth defects. Stem cell research has shown benefits in many areas of health, but most of the studies have only been done on lab animals. Some examples are improved stroke recovery shown in rats embryonic stem cells were used to treat a Parkinson's-like condition in mice and rats. Canadian and Italian scientists transplanted adult stem cells from the brains of mice into the bone marrow of other rodents. ...read more.


Of course, adult and embryonic stem cells differ in the number and type of differentiated cells types they can become. Embryonic stem cells can become all cell types of the body because they are pluripotent. Adult stem cells are generally limited to differentiating into different cell types of their tissue of origin. However, some evidence suggests that adult stem cell plasticity may exist, increasing the number of cell types a given adult stem cell can become. Large numbers of embryonic stem cells can be relatively easily grown in culture, while adult stem cells are rare in mature tissues and methods for expanding their numbers in cell culture have not yet been worked out. This is an important distinction, as large numbers of cells are needed for stem cell replacement therapies. There are many ways in which human stem cells can be used in basic research and in clinical research. However, there are many technical hurdles between the promise of stem cells and the realisation of these uses, which will only be overcome by continued intensive stem cell research. A better understanding of the genetic and molecular controls of the processes may yield information about how diseases arise and suggests new strategies for therapy. No of Words: 1, 204 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Molecules & Cells section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Molecules & Cells essays

  1. Stem cells: how is stem cell research carried out, and its benefits to medicine

    If the embryo develops into a Blastocyst, the stem cells are removed and cultured. If they develop into an organ after being exposed to the correct growth factor, the organ would have the exact same genetic information as the recipient of the organ.

  2. Epithelial tissues

    corneal epithelium The corneal epithelium covers the front of the cornea and consists of several layers of cells. corneal epithelia's function is to: * quickly regenerate when the cornea is injured Glandular Epithelium Glandular epithelia's function is to: * Secrete diverse products, which are carried to the external surface.

  1. Applied Science

    its dissolved electrolytes, is distributed into two major compartments: an intracellular fluid compartment and an extracellular fluid compartment. A large amount of water is lost each day in faeces, sweat and urine. Under normal circumstances this is balanced by intake in food and to satisfy thirsty.

  2. Follicular development

    the granulosa-oocyte complex, together with the formation of the zona pellucida around the oocyte. The formation of the zona pellucida remains unknown, as to whether it is secreted by the oocyte, or the granulosa cells, or both. The proliferation of the granulosa cells causes the single layer surrounding the oocyte

  1. The Origin of the Mitochondrion.

    Nevertheless, a stable chimeric nucleus (one containing both host and symbiont genes) was formed and is observed in eukaryotic cells today (Blackstone 1995). One still puzzling fact is that our nuclear genome contains scattered fragments of inactive mitochondrial genes, remnants of evolutionary pressures continuing to push toward a tighter integration of the two partners (Margulis 1981).

  2. The human body - Action and control

    Trypsin (a form of protease) - is an enzyme that helps to break down proteins to amino acids. The protein is insoluble. Digestion breaks up the protein into amino acids, which are soluble. Amylase - is an enzyme in saliva that breaks down starch to sugars.

  1. Stem cells: Haematopoiesis and the future of stem cell use in medicine.

    of cell that is formed by this particular stem cell. This is known as asymmetrical mitosis. There are particular stem cells stored in bone marrow called erythroblasts, or haematopoietic stem cells. These are pluripotent, not multipotent, as they have a much wider range of possible cells to be created than most stem cells in the body.

  2. The Science of Stem Cells

    At UW-Madison, and through the private, not-for-profit WiCell Institute, stem cell research continues on many fronts with the ultimate goal of contributing to promising new therapies and improved quality of life. What are embryonic stem cells? Embryonic stem cells are undifferentiated cells that are unlike any specific adult cell.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work