According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), stem cells are 1 "Cells with the ability to divide for indefinite periods in culture and to give rise to specialized cells." Stem cells are basically unspecialized cells that can, with proper physiologic or experimental conditions, become specialized cells. Specialized cells are usually called differentiated cells. These differentiated cells can then be used to repair damaged cells and eventually cure many diseases and disorders in humans. This could revolutionize the way society treats health issues. Instead of trying to destroy and sure a disease or disorder, doctors could simply grow new cells that would be able to repair or replace the damaged cells and tissue.
Adult Stem Cells
There are two major types of stem cells, embryonic and adult stem cells. Adult stem cells are the undifferentiated cells that are found in tissue and organs in adults. These cells are usually found mixed in with differentiated cells. These cells are used to repair and maintain the tissue in which they are found. Research of adult stem cells began in the 1960?s when scientists discovered them in bone marrow. Stem cells from bone marrow have been used in transplants for the past 30 years. Currently, scientists are unsure as to how adult stem cells develop. A major advantage to using adult stem cells is that each patient?s stem cells can be extracted, grown, and then reinserted into their body. This would ensure that the immune system would not reject the new cells. One of the problems with adult stem cells is that there are a very few number of stem cells in a sample of tissue. Another problem is that scientists are unsure about the flexibility of adult stem cells. Since they are found only i...
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Stem Cell Basics. 2002. National Institutes of Health (NIH). 16 Nov. 2003.
?Stem Cell Debate Revives an Old Ideological Battle,? New York Times [NY] 6 Jul. 2001. first ed.: A17
?Stem Cell Research; Global Differences: As the U.S. Hesitates, Other Countries Move Ahead With Studies on Embryos,? San Jose Mercury News [CA] 7 May 2002, morning final: 1E.
?Tangled Issues In Congress: Cloning and Stem Cell Study,? New York Times [NY] 31 Jul 2001, first ed.: A17
?Use of Cloning to Tailor Treatment Has Big Hurdles, Including Cost,? New York Times [NY] 18 Dec. 2001 first ed.: F2
What Are Stem Cells and What are They Used For? 2002. How Stuff Works. 15 Nov. 2003.
< http://science.howstuffworks.com/question621.htm >.
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