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Stem cells: What they are and
what they do
• You've heard about stem cells in the news, and perhaps you've wondered if they might help you
or a loved one with a serious disease.
• You may wonder what stem cells are, how they're being used to treat disease and injury, and why
they're the subject of such vigorous debate.
• Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about
stem cells.
What are stem cells?
Why is there such an interest in stem cells?
Where do stem cells come from?
What are stem cell lines and why do researchers want to use them?
What is stem cell therapy (regenerative medicine) and how does it work?
Have stem cells already been used to treat diseases?
What are stem cells?
• Stem cells are the body's raw materials — cells from which all other cells with specialized
functions are generated.
• Under the right conditions in the body or a laboratory, stem cells divide to form more cells called
daughter cells.
• These daughter cells either become new stem cells (self-renewal) or become specialized cells
(differentiation) with a more specific function, such as blood cells, brain cells, heart muscle cells
or bone cells. No other cell in the body has the natural ability to generate new cell types.
Why is there such an interest in stem cells?
• Increase understanding of how diseases occur
• Generate healthy cells to replace diseased cells (regenerative medicine).
• Test new drugs for safety and effectiveness.
Where do stem cells come from?
Researchers have discovered
several sources of stem cells:
Adult stem cells.
Embryonic stem cells.
Adult cells altered to have properties of
embryonic stem cells (induced pluripotent
stem cells)
Perinatal stem cells.
What are stem cell lines and why do researchers
want to use them?
• A stem cell line is a group of cells that all descend from a single original stem cell and are grown in
a lab.
• Cells in a stem cell line keep growing but don't differentiate into specialized cells.
• Ideally, they remain free of genetic defects and continue to create more stem cells.
• Clusters of cells can be taken from a stem cell line and frozen for storage or shared with other
researchers.
What is stem cell therapy (regenerative medicine)
and how does it work?
• Stem cell therapy, also known as regenerative medicine, promotes the repair response of
diseased, dysfunctional or injured tissue using stem cells or their derivatives.
• It is the next chapter in organ transplantation and uses cells instead of donor organs, which are
limited in supply.
• Researchers grow stem cells in a lab.
• These stem cells are manipulated to specialize into specific types of cells, such as heart muscle
cells, blood cells or nerve cells.
Have stem cells already been used to treat
diseases?
• Yes. Doctors have performed stem cell transplants, also known as bone marrow transplants.
• In stem cell transplants, stem cells replace cells damaged by chemotherapy or disease or serve as
a way for the donor's immune system to fight some types of cancer and blood-related diseases,
such as leukemia, lymphoma, neuroblastoma and multiple myeloma.
• These transplants use adult stem cells or umbilical cord blood.
Refrences:
• https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/bone-marrow-
transplant/in-depth/stem-cells/art-20048117

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Stem cells what they are and what they do

  • 1. Stem cells: What they are and what they do
  • 2. • You've heard about stem cells in the news, and perhaps you've wondered if they might help you or a loved one with a serious disease. • You may wonder what stem cells are, how they're being used to treat disease and injury, and why they're the subject of such vigorous debate. • Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about stem cells.
  • 3. What are stem cells? Why is there such an interest in stem cells? Where do stem cells come from? What are stem cell lines and why do researchers want to use them? What is stem cell therapy (regenerative medicine) and how does it work? Have stem cells already been used to treat diseases?
  • 4. What are stem cells? • Stem cells are the body's raw materials — cells from which all other cells with specialized functions are generated. • Under the right conditions in the body or a laboratory, stem cells divide to form more cells called daughter cells. • These daughter cells either become new stem cells (self-renewal) or become specialized cells (differentiation) with a more specific function, such as blood cells, brain cells, heart muscle cells or bone cells. No other cell in the body has the natural ability to generate new cell types.
  • 5. Why is there such an interest in stem cells? • Increase understanding of how diseases occur • Generate healthy cells to replace diseased cells (regenerative medicine). • Test new drugs for safety and effectiveness.
  • 6. Where do stem cells come from? Researchers have discovered several sources of stem cells: Adult stem cells. Embryonic stem cells. Adult cells altered to have properties of embryonic stem cells (induced pluripotent stem cells) Perinatal stem cells.
  • 7. What are stem cell lines and why do researchers want to use them? • A stem cell line is a group of cells that all descend from a single original stem cell and are grown in a lab. • Cells in a stem cell line keep growing but don't differentiate into specialized cells. • Ideally, they remain free of genetic defects and continue to create more stem cells. • Clusters of cells can be taken from a stem cell line and frozen for storage or shared with other researchers.
  • 8. What is stem cell therapy (regenerative medicine) and how does it work? • Stem cell therapy, also known as regenerative medicine, promotes the repair response of diseased, dysfunctional or injured tissue using stem cells or their derivatives. • It is the next chapter in organ transplantation and uses cells instead of donor organs, which are limited in supply. • Researchers grow stem cells in a lab. • These stem cells are manipulated to specialize into specific types of cells, such as heart muscle cells, blood cells or nerve cells.
  • 9. Have stem cells already been used to treat diseases? • Yes. Doctors have performed stem cell transplants, also known as bone marrow transplants. • In stem cell transplants, stem cells replace cells damaged by chemotherapy or disease or serve as a way for the donor's immune system to fight some types of cancer and blood-related diseases, such as leukemia, lymphoma, neuroblastoma and multiple myeloma. • These transplants use adult stem cells or umbilical cord blood.