Where Do Stem Cells Come From?}

Where Do Stem Cells Come From?

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Gregory SmythStem cell research has been forging ahead in recent years, with the development of stem cell therapy for injury recovery, spinal cord injury treatment, stroke recovery and other human diseases, as well as in plastic surgery augmentation. However, many people remain ill-informed about stem cells, with a significant population still opposed to stem cells on the grounds that they believe the only source of stem cells for transplant is embryos. We explain the truth about stem cells, where they come from and what they are, and how they are being used in stem cell therapy. A stem cell is a cell which can turn into any other type of cell that the body determines is needed. It can continuously divide, and then differentiate itself into whatever tissue is required by the body. The fact that stem cells exist means that brain cells do not necessarily have to be made by other brain cells, and the same for muscle cells, nerve cells and organ cells like kidneys, lungs and reproductive glands. In a way they are blank cells. Biologists can work on these in the laboratory, programming them in much the same way as a computer technician to perform any number of functions within the body after a stem cell transplant. Stem cell therapy for Parkinson’ disease, as well as stem cell therapy for diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and stem cell therapy for stroke is made possible by the fact that the human adult stem cells can replace damaged cells in organs, including the brain, the pancreas and any tissue that has suffered physical injury. Stem cells can come from embryos – embryonic stem cells are harvested from the blastocyst seven to ten days after fertilization. These were the first to be discovered, and stem cell debate raged for months after publication of the findings. Fetal stem cells can be taken from the germline tissues that would eventually make up the reproductive glands of fetuses that have been aborted. There is also stem cell debate attached to these cells, however much less. Stem cells can be harvested from umbilical cord blood cells, as well as from placental cells.However, most of those that are used in stem cell therapy today are derived from human adult stem cells. While adult stem cells can be harvested more easily, in greater numbers than other types, pluripotent adult stem cells are rare. Multipotent adult stem cells are more common, but less versatile. The most common use of adult stem cells is in the treatment of leukemia and other bone or blood related cancers, through bone marrow transplants. Recent research has also uncovered the fact that fat from the lower belly and upper thighs is actually rich in stem cells, which help fight ageing. In the study, 23 female patients, who were all having liposuction performed on at least four areas of their bodies, agreed for their fat to be analysed for its adult stem cell content. Adult stem cell concentration was five times greater in the lower abdomen than the upper abdomen. This may be one of the sources of the future for adult stem cells for therapy. ReturningHope.com

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