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stem cell

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Assignment: Science, Technology and Engineering Task 6 - Stem Cells Embryonic stem cells are derived from embryos that develop from eggs that have been fertilized in an in vitro fertilization clinic, and then donated for research purposes with the consent of the donors. The human embryonic stem cells are derived are typically four or five days old and are a hollow microscopic ball of cells called the blast cyst. Stem cells have the remarkable potential to develop into many different cell types in the body. Serving as a sort of repair system for the body, they can theoretically divide without limit to replenish other cells as long as the person or animal is still alive. When a stem cell divides, each new cell has the potential to either remain a stem cell or become another type of cell with a more specialized function, such as a muscle cell, a red blood cell, or a brain cell. 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 A stem cell has been found in adults that can turn into every single tissue in the body. It might turn out to be the most important cell ever discovered. ...read more.


Each of these being used in research and all has the potential treat disease in the future. Stem cell research has the activity to develop into all of the different types found in an adult, such as skin, blood and nerve cells. These cells are collected from the inner cell mass of an early 5-6 days old embryo, they can no longer become as a whole organism. Adult stem cells are stem cells found in adults that produce new cells to replace old ones, such as blood, liver and nerve cells. Some adult stem cells can be remover from a patient who is undergoing treatment. Adult stem cells have been used to replace diseased bone marrow in leukaemia. Non-embryonic stem cells can also be sourced from umbilical cord blood following birth. These cells have properties similar to adult stem cells. Some critics argue that the extraction of stem cells from embryos is unnecessary because stem cells can be obtained from cord blood. That will produce similar results without destroying the potential life of an embryo. The removal and isolation adult stem cells are at present difficult. It is also not clear how to make them develop into the wide variety of cell types that can be obtained from stem cells. ...read more.


In Australia, embryos cannot be created solely for the purpose of stem cells research. If however in the future, more embryos were required than were available, it may be suggested that stem cells researchers should obtain oocytes (eggs) for embryo production by advertising for and paying healthy donors. This raises the potential exploitation of disadvantaged women who agree to be paid to undergo invasive oocyte extraction. A potential advantage of using stem cells from an adult is that the patient's own cells could be expanded in culture and then reintroduced into the patient. The use of the patient's own adult stem cells would mean that the cells would not be rejected by the immune system. This represents a significant advantage as immune rejection is a difficult problem that can only be circumvented with immunosuppressive drugs. There are pluses and minuses associated with the research and all types of stem cells. The ethical issue about the origin of embryonic stem cells will always be a sensitive issue. But there are strict guidelines and legislation regarding the stem cell research. All scientists are aware that they must undertake their work ethically and within the law. Newcastle University has welcomed a �9.8million investment that will create a regional stem cell research institute that aims to become one of the world's top 10 stem cell research centers by 2010. Most people remain excited by the possibilities of embryonic stem cells in treating many diseases. ...read more.

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