Stem Cells: Past, Present and Future

Stem Cells: Past, Present and Future

Stem cells are extraordinary. They are derived from the human body and are able to speed up the natural healing process of certain injuries. They do this by becoming specific cells needed by the body as well as having self-renewal abilities.

A Brief History on Stem Cells

When stem cells were first discovered, their limitless potential opened up many doors for research. It was in the 1980s when scientists discovered that they could derive stem cells from mouse embryos, but it was only in the late 1990s that they managed to find a way to derive human embryonic stem cells.

In the mid-2000s, researchers discovered a way to reprogramme adult stem cells to broaden their usage, as if they were young stem cells. This type stem cell was called induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs).

Stem Cells Now

More discoveries have been made in recent years. Stem cells have even more uses now, including healing wounds that were thought to be impossible, facilitating recovery from spinal cord injuries, healing osteoarthritis and more.

Today, scientists have found that there are different types of stem cells that come in two types: embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells. Embryonic stem cells are derived from unused embryos and are pluripotent, meaning they can turn into any cell. Because of this, embryonic cells have the most potential for boundless research.

Adult stem cells come in two types: Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). HSCs are derived from the bone marrow of adults, the blood found in the umbilical cord and in small quantities in the peripheral blood of the body. They are responsible for the constant renewal and production of blood in the body.

MSCs are multipotent stem cells that are derived from multiple tissues such as the bone marrow, fat tissue and umbilical cord. They are able to transform into multiple tissues and self-renew.

Future of Stem Cells

Since stem cells have boundless opportunities, the possibilities are also endless. More research can be done to see how they can be used to cure or prevent diseases such as cancer or organ failure.

With more research, it may also be possible to find the cure to diseases or to even create new organs.

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