Stem cell research is a new, inventive technology that will be and currently is saving lives. Stem cells have the ability to “increase understanding of how diseases occur, generate healthy cells to replace diseased cells, and test new drugs for safety and effectiveness.” (Mayo Clinic Staff). These special cells have become a new and better way of treating diseases such as; heart disease and diabetes. Scientists have discovered that if these cells are under the right conditions, the stem cells will divide. Once divided, the stem cells will form daughter cells which could become new stem cells or specialized cells. Daughter cells that become specialized cells gain a “specific function, such as the blood cells, brain cells, heart muscle, or bone.” (Mayo Clinic Staff). Stem cells come from several sources including embryos and in adult tissues like bone marrow and fat.
Embryonic stem cells come from embryos that are three to five days old. These embryos are called blastocysts and they are pluripotent which means the embryos are able to divide into more stem cells or any other type of cell. This adaptability allows the cells to repair damaged tissues and organs.
In adult stem cells, recent evidence has been discovered that the cells may be able to create new stem cells that have no relation to the original stem cell’s purpose. However, scientists first believed that adult or somatic stem cells could only produce similar type of cells. For example, bone marrow stem cells could only divide into more bone marrow cells. Research in the field of adult stem cells in still being investigated and more and more information is emerging everyday.
Lastly, another type of stem cell that has been discovered are peri...
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... that they are specialized and have a determined cell type. However, in 2006 researchers made a major breakthrough by pinpointing the specific conditions in which some somatic cells can “be ‘reprogrammed’ genetically to assume a stem cell-like state.” (National Institutes of Health). This new and different class of stem cell was named an induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC). One controversial issue regarding embryonic stem cells is that people dislike the way they are acquired. Since these stem cells are derived from embryos, hence the name, human embryos are unintentionally destroyed in the process. Those who have the belief that the life of a human begins at conception, are convinced that a person is being killed. Despite all of the disadvantages, flaws, and controversies surrounding stem cell research, most believe it is a matter still worth investigating.
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