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Essay on Development of Stem Cell Research

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Development of Stem Cell Research
Tissue stem cells have been used therapeutically for many years in the contexts of Haematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation (HSCT), in order to treat many types of blood cancer; stem cell-based skin grafting (Green et al.,1979, Green, 1989), and corneal damage (Rama et al, 2010). In HSCT, stem cells are harvested from the patient or donor and are transplanted back into the patient to restore damaged cells. However, the need for transplantable tissues and organ is far outweighs the available supply.(2, 5)
In 1998, Dr. James Thomson was able to derive the first Embryonic Stem Cells in human. This invention is hoped to solve the limited donated organs and tissues supply. Moreover, studying ES cells seemed to offer limitless possibilities because its pluripotency makes hESC possible to generate every cell type within human. Narsinh et al (2011) argue that the opportunity to model disease, discover disease mechanism and, ultimately, use cell therapy for previously untreatable conditions was particularly alluring. On the other hand, the derivation of human ES cells apparently sparked controversy because their derivation involved the destruction of a human embryo. There were heated debates regarding the moral status of the embryo (EuroStemCell, 2011). According to Barfoot (2013), some countries take a tightly regulated but permissive approach to research involving the use of human embryos to generate ES cell lines. Others have placed some restrictions on research in this area, either through direct legislation, patentability or by limiting the uses of research funding (Barfoot, 2013; The Hinxton Group, 2013).
Another obstacle that hESCs research face is logistical problem. According to Narsinh et al (2...


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...ost promising areas for the future of iPS cell applications. After the seminal work in mice by Rudolf Jaenisch’s laboratory (Hanna et al, 2007), scientists are now making progress toward using iPSCs in regenerative medicine, for example for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease (Kriks et al, 2001), platelet deficiency (Takayama et al, 2010), spinal cord injury (Nori et al, 2011; Tsuji et al., 2010), and macular degeneration (Okamoto and Takahashi, 2011). To date, researchers from RIKEN center Japan have been conducting the first clinical trial of iPSCs in human since 2013. This study, led by Masayo Takahashi, is aiming to treat age-related macular degeneration, the most common cause of visual impairment in the elderly, using the reprogrammed stem cells. In the future, it might become possible to generate organs for human transplantation using a similar strategy.(7-9)



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