Stem cells obtained from human embryos seem to offer the best chance of new therapies, because unlike other stem cells they have the ability to morph into almost any type of tissue. But researchers complain that political roadblocks are keeping them from determining the full potential of these cells. Six years ago, President Bush limited federally funded research to about 20 viable lines of cells that had been extracted from embryos prior to August 9,
Jump to navigation. Human embryonic and adult stem cells each have advantages and disadvantages regarding potential use for cell-based regenerative therapies. One major difference between adult and embryonic stem cells is their different abilities in the number and type of differentiated cell types they can become.
Stem cells are self-renewing, unspecialised cells that can give rise to multiple cell types of all tissues of the body. They can be derived from the embryo, foetus and adult. The ability of stem cells to divide but also to differentiate to specialised cell types like nerve and muscle, have made them candidates on which to base therapies for diseases and disorders for which no, or only partially effective, therapies are available.
Research has been ongoing now for years as scientists have tried to determine whether stem cells from adult tissues have the same capabilities and potential as embryonic stem cells. Studies are constantly revealing new information and it is hoped that therapeutic applications will be developed from both sources. The question, however, perhaps remains: which source holds the advantage?
Since their discovery, stem cells have been hailed as the ultimate answer for crippling and incurable diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and other conditions that leave vital organs like heart or nerves damaged beyond repair. Researchers from the University of Cambridge, under the leadership of Professor Austin Smith, Director of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Stem Cell Research at the University of Cambridge, recently published a paper detailing a new technology that can transform adult stem cells into induced pluripotent stem cells iPS. This technique is able to reliably reprogram adult cells into iPS rapidly and can forego the need to rely on mammalian embryos to generate pluripotent stem cells.
In fact, most scientists are working on both adult and embryonic stem cells, which are both very cool. Why do some people extol one type at the expense of the other? What are their relative strengths and weaknesses?
Stem cells and derived products offer great promise for new medical treatments. Learn about stem cell types, current and possible uses, ethical issues, and the state of research and practice. You've heard about stem cells in the news, and perhaps you've wondered if they might help you or a loved one with a serious disease.
Adult stem cells are undifferentiated cellsfound throughout the body after development, that multiply by cell division to replenish dying cells and regenerate damaged tissues. Scientific interest in adult stem cells is centered on their ability to divide or self-renew indefinitely, and generate all the cell types of the organ from which they originate, potentially regenerating the entire organ from a few cells. They have mainly been studied in humans and model organisms such as mice and rats.
Embryonic stem cells ESCs are stem cells derived from the undifferentiated inner mass cells of a human embryo. Embryonic stem cells are pluripotent, meaning they are able to grow i. In other words, they can develop into each of the more than cell types of the adult body as long as they are specified to do so.