Saturday, December 13, 2014

Stem cells

Stem cells are undifferentiated biological cells which can potentially develop into many different cell types during early life and growth and found in multicellular organisms. In adult organisms they act as a repair system for the body, replenishing adult tissues. In a developing embryo, stem cells differentiate into specialized cells and organs.
Adult stem cells in humans are obtained from bone marrow, adipose tissue (lipid cells) and blood. They can also be obtained from umbilical cord blood just after birth. Stem cells can also be obtained from the inner cell mass of a blastocyst, an early-stage embryo. This embryonic source has been widely criticized as it destroys the embryo. Instead attempts have been made to derive stem cells from amniotic fluids as it does not harm the embryo.
Stem cell therapy has been determined to be useful against conditions like diabetes, arthritis, heart ailments etc. and also neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease etc. Restoring damaged bodily functions such as damaged vision, hearing and teeth as well as baldness can also be carried out by this therapy. Bone marrow transfer is also considered a crude form of stem cell therapy.
However, there have been numerous controversies surrounding stem cell therapy. In addition to the ethical dilemma of killing embryos, critics have argued that stem cell therapy may lead to increased commodification of pregnancy for stem cell procurement as well and is a precursor to human cloning. Although, these concerns are well-founded stem cell therapy needs to be promoted, under strict supervision, as it hold the key to the treatment of some of the most potent disease

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