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Stem Cell Uses

Stem Cell Uses

This article shall explain you the fields where application of stem cells take place extensively. In depth research, studies and analysis are being conducted in this field so that the uses of stem cells become more popular in medical treatment.
BiologyWise Staff
Wide spreading news about stem cells in papers, magazines and over the Internet has given us a productive insight to their application through a wide range of medical treatments.

Stem cells are those cells that have the potency to divide and give rise to specialized types of cells. They have the ability to renew and multiply themselves, due to which they have become one of the most important tools of biotechnology, medical science and clinical research. Uses of stem cells depend on their source of origin and their potency to divide. We shall let you know the different types of stem cells before studying their uses in details. They are classified as:
  • Adult stem cells, also known as somatic stem cells are multipotent (cells can divide to give rise to many new cells specific of that lineage) in nature. They are found in almost all the developed organs of human beings (including children and adults).
  • Embryonic stem cells are known to be pluripotent (a cell having the power to specialize itself into any of the three different layers of the germinal epithelium) and they are derived from the inner cell mass of an embryo in its blastocyst stage (50-150 cells).
  • Fetal stem cells are those that are extracted from the organs present in a fetus during its development inside a womb.
  • As the name suggests, amniotic fluid stem cells and cord blood stems cells are derived from the amniotic fluid and the umbilical cord blood of a newborn baby, respectively.
Uses of Stem Cells

1. Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation
Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation has created a breakthrough for curing leukemia and other diseases associated with blood and bone marrow. Bone marrow transplants are successfully carried out with the help of multipotent hemotopoietic stem cells. It is indeed a complicated process and mismatch of graft tissues can give rise to a wide range of graft-versus-host diseases. Autologous and allogeneic are the two major types of grafts used for this purpose. This therapy is extensively used in treatment of Acute Myeloid Leukemia.

2. Gene Therapy Using Stem Cells
Diseases that result from defect or mutation in genes could be cured with the help of stem cells. Stem cells of specific lineage are cultured in laboratory under in vitro conditions, that are further used for replacing the cells having a defective gene. Every type of antigen testing is done so that the graft doesn't get rejected. This technique is also known as genetic engineering and it finds a great deal of application in curing heart diseases as well.

3. Use of Human Embryonic Stem Cells
Embryonic stem cells have a wide application in treatment of degenerative and congenital diseases. The ability of neurons and tissues of the brain to regenerate and replace the damaged counterparts is very less. Damage caused to spinal cord, bone marrow and brain cells can be treated with the help of embryonic stem cells, that are pluripotent in nature. The cells that are derived from blastocysts multiply rapidly to form mature cells. Being capable of self-renewal, they form for a vital tool in cell replacement therapies.

4. Other Uses of Stem Cells
Apart from the uses explained the content above, there are ample other areas where stem cells find wide range of applications. We have listed down some more uses of stem cells here.
  • Stem cells are used for treatment of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease.
  • Treatment of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and arthritis is also done with stem cells.
  • Cell grafting using stem cells for the purpose of healing burnt skin or regenerating cell growth in damaged parts of a body.
That was a guide to stem cell uses. Extensive research pertaining to their properties, uses and development is going on all over the world. It's indeed a challenge for doctors and scientists to progress through the ethical grounds regarding use of human cells for generating new cells. Nevertheless, the development has proven a boon to mankind.