What exactly is pluripotent stem cell Therapy? And why should you care?
Pluripotent stem cells are undifferentiated cells that can develop into any type of tissue or organ in the body. They are also called embryonic stem cells because they come from embryos.
Stem cells are found in every part of our bodies. They give rise to new cells throughout life. Stem cells can be taken from human embryos, adult tissues, or even other animals. The first cloned mammal was a sheep named Dolly in 1996 and the first cloned primate was a rhesus monkey in 1998. Cloning is now used for production of farm animals such as cows, pigs, goats, horses, chickens, fish, rabbits, and dogs. Somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) has been used to produce genetically identical copies of endangered species. Scientists have also created stem-cell lines from the skin cells of people with Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
Stem cells are unique because they have two important properties: self-renewal and differentiation. Self-renewal means that a stem cell divides repeatedly so that it produces more of itself. Differentiation means that a stem cell changes its identity by developing into one specific kind of cell. For example, blood stem cells turn into red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and plasma proteins.
When we think about stem cells, we usually think about their ability to differentiate into many different kinds of specialized cells. However, there is another way that stem cells work. A stem cell can change its own genetic material so that it becomes something completely different than what it started out as. This process is called reprogramming. It’s not clear how this happens but scientists believe that some genes may become switched on or off during development. These genes then instruct the cell to change its identity.
Scientists have discovered ways to make mouse stem cells act like human ones. In 2006, researchers at Harvard University made mouse stem cells behave like human ones. Human stem cells were able to form three types of brain cells — neurons, astrocytes, and oligodendrocytes. Researchers say that these findings could lead to therapies for diseases such as Huntington’s disease, spinal cord injury, and multiple sclerosis.
In 2007, scientists at Stanford University successfully converted human fibroblasts into induced pluripotent stem cells. Fibroblasts are the connective tissue cells that make up most of the body. They are found in all organs and tissues. Induced pluripotent stem cells are very similar to embryonic stem cells. They both contain DNA from all of the cells in an embryo. But unlike embryonic stem cells, induced pluripotent stem cell DNA contains mutations that prevent them from becoming cancerous.
In 2009, scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies announced that they had developed a method to convert adult skin cells into pluripotent stem cells without destroying the patient’s original cells. Adult stem cells are undifferentiated cells that can develop into any type of cell. When they are removed from the body, they can be grown in culture dishes and turned into various types of specialized cells.
In 2010, scientists at the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology reported that they had succeeded in converting adult mouse skin cells into induced pluripotent cells. Mouse skin cells are much easier to grow in culture than human skin cells. And mice do not require ethical approval to use in research.
In 2011, scientists at the University of Pennsylvania published a study showing that they had used CRISPR gene-editing technology to convert adult skin cells directly into induced pluripotent stem cells. The technique was named “direct conversion.” Scientists say that direct conversion will allow them to create new treatments using patients’ own cells instead of having to harvest embryonic stem cells.
In 2012, scientists at the Gladstone Institutes in San Francisco published a paper describing a method for turning adult skin cells into induced pluripotent stem cells. Their technique involved growing the cells in a dish containing chemicals that mimic the environment inside early embryos.
In 2013, scientists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) published a study describing a technique for making induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells from adult blood cells. Blood cells are easy to obtain from adults and are also easily expanded in culture.
In 2014, scientists at the University College London published a study describing a way to turn adult skin cells into iPS cells by introducing genes called Yamanaka factors into the cells. These genes were first identified in 2006 when Shinya Yamanaka won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work on reprogramming adult cells back into iPS cells.
Stem Cell Therapy Can Be Used For Regenerative Medicine To Treat Diseases Like:
- Heart Disease
- Muscular Dystrophy
- Wound Healing
- Severe Skin Damage, etc.
Stem cell therapies have been around since the 1990s, but it wasn’t until recently that researchers began to understand how these cells could help treat diseases like heart disease and diabetes.
Researchers are now learning how to manipulate stem cells so that they can be used as a treatment for many different conditions.
There are two main ways that stem cells can be used to treat disease. One is called regenerative medicine. This involves taking a person’s own stem cells and modifying them with genetic material or other tools to make them more effective at treating specific diseases. Once this has occurred, the modified stem cells can then be returned to the patient where they would replace damaged tissue and restore normal function.
Another way stem cells can be used is through cellular replacement therapy. With this approach, stem cells are taken out of a donor and grown in a lab. They are then introduced to a recipient who suffers from some kind of disease.
Regenerative medicine uses stem cells to repair tissues and organs. It is a promising area of research because it offers hope for people suffering from degenerative disorders like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, arthritis, and osteoarthritis.
Regenerative medicine is being studied in animals and humans. There are currently over 1,000 clinical trials underway worldwide.
One example of regenerative medicine is bone marrow transplants. Bone marrow contains hematopoietic stem cells that give rise to all types of blood cells. When someone needs new blood cells, doctors take their own stem cells and modify them to create a type of white blood cell known as an “allograft.” The modified stem cells are then reintroduced into the body.
Today, there are several methods available to induce stem cells to become certain kinds of cells. Scientists use gene-editing techniques to change the DNA of stem cells to make them more likely to develop into desired lineages.
Scientists also use chemical compounds to control which pathways stem cells follow during development. Researchers have found that chemicals called small molecules can activate or inhibit specific signalling pathways inside stem cells.
This technique is useful for studying developmental biology and understanding how stem cells develop into particular cell types.
In addition, scientists are using gene-editing techniques to alter the genome of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) to produce induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). iPSCs are adult cells that have been reprogrammed back to an immature state. These cells have the ability to turn into any type of cell in the body.
Once scientists fully understand the mechanisms by which stem cells work, they will be able to better direct these cells to become the right type of cells to heal patients.
Stem Cells: How They Work
Stem cells come in many different forms. For example, one type of stem cell is called a neural stem cell. Neural stem cells help build brain cells throughout life.
A second type of stem cell is the mesenchymal stem cell. Mesenchymal stem cells form connective tissue such as cartilage and bone.
A third type of stem cell is a hematopoietin stem cell. Hematopoietin stem cells are responsible for making red blood cells, platelets, and immune system cells.
A fourth type of stem cell is an endothelial progenitor cell. Endothelial progenitor cells help maintain healthy blood vessels.
Finally, there’s a fifth type of stem cell called the adipose-derived stem cell. Adipose-derived stem cells are used to treat wounds and injuries.
Stem Cell Types
There are two main categories of stem cells: embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells.
Embryonic stem cells are derived from embryos that are no older than 5 days old. Embryonic stem cells are considered a precious resource because they can grow into any kind of cell in the body and may someday be used to replace damaged tissues.
Adult stem cells are obtained from adults. Adult stem cells are less potent than embryonic stem cells but are easier to obtain.
Embryonic Stem Cells
Human embryonic stem cells were first isolated in 1998. Since then, researchers have successfully grown hundreds of millions of these stem cells in laboratories around the world.
These stem cells can be grown indefinitely without aging or becoming cancerous. This makes them very valuable for research purposes.
Researchers have used embryonic stem cells to study diseases like diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, spinal cord injury, heart disease, and more.
Researchers have even created “humanized mice” with human embryonic stem cells. Humanized mice are mice that have had their own immune systems replaced with those of humans.
Scientists are also working to create “human organs on-demand” using embryonic stem cells. In this process, doctors would remove a patient’s diseased organ and replace it with a new one made from embryonic stem cells.
Scientists are currently developing ways to use embryonic stem cells to repair injured hearts, lungs, kidneys, livers, eyes, bones, muscles, nerves, and other parts of the body.
Advantages of Using Embryonic Stem Cells for Stem Cell Therapy
One advantage of embryonic stem cells is that they can be grown indefinitely. Researchers can keep growing them until they find a way to cure a particular disease.
Another advantage of embryonic stem cell therapy is that it can become almost any type of cell in the body. They can turn into the skin, muscle, fat, nerve, bone, liver, kidney, pancreas, lung, heart, brain, intestine, eye, ear, tooth, tendon, ligament, joint, muscle, cartilage, bone, blood vessel, artery, vein, lymph node, thymus gland, spleen, prostate, testis, ovary, uterus, placenta, umbilical cord, amniotic fluid, and many others.
Adult Stem Cells
Adult stem cells are found in our bodies. They are already there waiting to help us heal. Unlike embryonic stem cells, adult stem cells do not need to be grown in a laboratory. Instead, they can be taken directly from patients.
Adult stem cells include mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), neural stem cells (NSCs), endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs), and adipose-derived stem cells (ADSCs).
Mesenchymal stem cells are found in the connective tissue of bones, joints, tendons, ligaments, and muscles. MSCs can differentiate into bone, cartilage, fat, muscle, and other types of cells.
A hematopoietic stem cell is a type of adult stem cell that produces blood cells. It can make red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and clotting factors.
Neural stem cells are found in areas of the brain called the subventricular zone and the dentate gyrus. NSCs can develop into neurons, astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, and ependymal cells.
Endothelial progenitor cells are found in the lining of blood vessels. EPCs can form new blood vessels when needed.
Adipose-derived stem cells are found in fatty tissues such as the abdomen, thighs, buttocks, breasts, hips, knees, and face. ADSCs can produce insulin, which helps control blood sugar levels.
Stem Cell Transplantation: The Basics
Stem cell transplantation involves taking stem cells from one person and putting them into another person. This procedure may be used to treat cancer or other diseases.
In most cases, the donor and recipient share a similar genetic makeup. However, this does not have to be true. For example, if a mother has leukaemia, her baby could receive stem cells from someone else who does not have leukaemia.
There are two main types of stem cell transplants. Autologous stem cell transplantation means using stem cells from the same individual who will receive the transplant. Allogeneic stem cell transplantation means taking stem cells from someone else.
Autologous stem cell transplantations involve removing stem cells from your own body and then returning those cells to you after treatment.
Allogeneic stem cell transplants take stem cells from someone else’s body and return those cells to the patient.
Autologous stem cell transplants are more common than allogeneic ones because they use stem cells that come from the same individual. If you have an autologous stem cell transplant, it is usually done with chemotherapy first. Chemotherapy kills off some of the cancer cells. Then, the doctor takes out the healthy stem cells and puts them back into your body. The healthy stem cells can grow again and replace the damaged cells.
If you have an allogeneic stem cell transplant, doctors remove stem cells from someone else and put them into your body without any prior chemotherapy.
Both autologous and allogeneic stem cell transplantations have risks. Some of these risks include infection, organ rejection, and graft versus host disease. Graft versus host disease occurs when the transplanted stem cells attack the immune system of the patient.
When people think about stem cell transplants, they often think about how they might help their children. In fact, many parents want to donate stem cells so that their children can get better treatments for life-threatening illnesses.
However, stem cell transplants also have uses outside of medicine. Stem cell transplants can be used to help animals recover from injuries. They can even be used to help humans get pregnant.
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