What Are Stem Cells, and Why are People Interested in Them? Essay Example

Date:  2021-03-30 17:48:51
3 pages  (949 words)
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According to Cambridge Stem cells are defined as a class of cells that are undifferentiated and capable of differentiating into specialized cell types (18). People especially scientist are interested in stem cells so as to better understand how diseases occur. This is by watching how cells grow, mature and split. They are also interested on stem cells so as to create new cells since stem cells have a unique ability to transform into other cells or just stay as they are. When these stem cells change into other cells the scientists can replace them with new ones. The last reason why scientists are interested on stem cells is to test drugs. This is because drugs are tested of their safety using the stem cells before reaching the market.

What are three unique properties associated with stem cells?

The three unique properties associated with the stem cells are;

The capability of dividing and regenerating themselves into new cells for long periods.

The stem cells are unspecialized and are mainly basic cells.

Ability to give rise to any type of specialized cell because they are unspecialized.

Distinguish between adult (somatic) stem cells and embryonic stem cells.

Somatic or adult stem cells are undifferentiated cells that divide to replace dead cells and repair damaged tissues and are found throughout the body while embryonic stem cells are pluripotent stem cells that are derived from the inner cell mass of the blastocyst. The main difference between the adult stem cells and the embryonic stem cells is that the later can become all cell types of the body since they are pluripotent while the adult stem cells are thought to be limited to differentiating into different cell types of their tissue of origin. Another difference is that embryonic stem cells can be grown relatively easily in culture while the adult stem cells are rare in the mature tissues and isolating them from a mature tissue is challenging. The two types are similar because it is believed that tissues derived from embryonic and adult stem cells may differ in likelihood of being rejected after transplantation

Do you have stem cells in your body? If yes, where?

Human beings have stem cells in the form of somatic cells and they make up the internal organs like the skin, bones and blood.

What does pluripotent mean as applied to stem cells?

Pluripotent means the ability of any cell capable of developing into any type of a cell or tissue.

What are induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs)?

Pluripotent stem cells are the adult cells that have been genetically restructured to an embryonic stem cell like state by being forced to express genes and factors that are important in defining the properties of embryonic stem cells.

Do you have iPSCs in your body? If yes, where?

Humans have induced pluripotent cells in their bodies that are reprogrammed to help in repairing damaged tissues in the human body. They are found in transplantable organs like the kidney to avoid rejection in the case of a transplant.

What ethical issues, if any, surround stem cell research and stem cell therapies?

The ethical issues that surround the stem cell research and stem cell therapies range from the informed and informed consent in the delivery of biological materials stage to the protection of reproductive interests of women in infertility treatment. This ensures that individual rights are not breached in the process of investigating stem cells.

What is ECM? Be specific where is it found and what is it made of?

According to Parks, Extracellular matrix (ECM) is a collection of extracellular molecules that are secreted by the cells that provide biochemical and structural support for the surrounding cells (10). Extracellular matrix is composed of an interlocking mesh of proteins and glycosaminoglycan in animals while in plants it is mainly composed of cellulose. They are mainly found in the actin filaments of cytoskeletons.

Describe, in general, the role of ECM and the role of stem cells in repairing damaged tissues.

Extracellular matrixes play a great role in the process of repairing damaged tissues. Firstly, they provide a structural integrity of matrix during each process of the healing process and also the matrix molecules help in the control of cellular functions, mediate the cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions, and also serve as a reservoirs and modulators of cytokines and growth factors action. The stem cells help in the repair of the damaged tissues by acting a support mechanism in which the stem cells can be exploited to help in the promotion of the complete tissue repair and avoid any form of detrimental fibrosis.

Give some examples of human body parts have been grown in a laboratory.

According to the New York Films Media Group, some examples of human body parts that have been grown in the laboratory include the mini-heart, mini-kidney, the fallopian tube, mini-stomach, vaginas, esophagus, ear and the urethra(23).

What are the advantages of this technique compared to traditional organ donation?

The advantage of using the laboratory grown organ is that it does not require loads of toxic drugs to suppress the immune system so that it can accept the transplanted organ unlike in the traditional organ donation. The other advantage of growing organs in the la is that organs that cannot be transplanted from one person to another such as the heart can be made and given to a person unlike in the traditional organ donation where organs such as the liver, brain and the heart cannot be transplanted.

References

Cell Stem Cell. Cambridge, MA: Cell Press, 2007. Internet resource.

How to Build a Beating Heart. New York, N.Y: Films Media Group, 2010. Internet resource.

Parks, William C, and Robert P. Mecham. Extracellular Matrix Degradation. Berlin: Springer, 2011. Internet resource.

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