Stem Cells

stem-cells 1870275cIn the mid 1800's it was discovered that cells are the basic building blocks of life and that some cells were specialized to produce different types of tissues.

Later, with greater transparency, the public began to be educated on stem cell research.

Stem cells are a class of cells that are able to differentiate into specific cell types that produce the various body tissues that are unique to bone, muscle, skin and so on.

They originate from 2 sources namely from embryos and adult tissues. Embryonic Stem cells are the most potent, since they become every type of cell in the human body, a fascinating aspect of biology.

This class of cells is derived from human embryos, usually being extras that have been created in IVF [in vitro fertilization for women who cannot conceive naturally]. Several eggs are fertilized in a test tube, but only one will be implanted into the recipient's womb.
Stem cell cultures are known as stem lines, being a mass of laboratory created cells, which can be prompted to differentiate for specific use.

Adult stem cells already exist in the multiple tissues of the body and can divide resulting in renewal of cells in the relevant organs.

The urgency for these cells is due to medicine requiring a greater number for renewal of diseased organs and a fact that this need exceeds those organs donated.
Skin tissue is invaluable to be grafted onto burn victims. In other cases, cell replacement may be used to reverse the effects of brain disease like Parkinsons and Alzeimers. Adult stem cells have been used for years to treat leukemia and bone marrow deficiencies and in Cardio-vascular surgery; new networks of blood vessels have formed.

However, the ethical debate rages on the core of it relating to abortion and the sensitive issue of "where does life begin?" Those strongly opposed have the view that destruction of an embryo is akin to murder and that the embryo deserves the same status as any other fully grown human.

Animal activists take issue with human cells being implanted into animals like mice, rats and rabbits and object to the creation of an organism that is part human.
Legal issues regarding the use of Stem cells has arisen to the highest level. Certain countries have placed a ban on such procedures, having strong religious and ethical sentiments.
However, the use of Stem cells is just another aspect of science to progress further and to extend life.

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