Everything You Need to Know About Stem Cells

4 min read

stem cell in human body

What are Stem Cells?

Stem cells are gaining popularity with advancements in diseases. Many of us are aware that these are the building block cells and can be derived from different sources present during pregnancy, birth, and the developed human body.

The embryonic stem cells are one such class of stem cells that are highly pluripotent and can replicate indefinitely. Thus, these stem cells can be termed as the generation house of multiple stem cells.

Embryonic stem cells are the stem cells obtained from the human embryo’s undifferentiated inner mass cells. These are abbreviated as ESCs. These are the powerful cells that can develop into any of more than 200 different cell types of the human body. These are thus obtained at the blastocyst stage from an early embryo.

Why are Stem Cells Important?

Stem cells are the most promising solutions to different chronic diseases in medical studies. Stem cells are essential due to their inherited characteristics. All stem cells application is based on this feature that they can grow and regenerate any body cells.

Many advanced diseases like cancers, metabolic disorders damage the internal organs completely or require some seed source of therapy that can grow inside, fighting these diseases. Thus, all types of stem cells help fight cancer cells and regenerate the new cells for proper body functioning. Many treatments like bone marrow transplants are already utilizing this feature.

Stem cells are further crucial in research on the new products for deadly diseases.

Human stem cells can be stored for possible future use at some time later in life.

Unique Properties of Stem Cells:

  • Stem Cells can Self Renew:

Stem cells can replicate many times to form stem cells, differentiated cells, and both in some cases. It is dependent on the unknown factors that balance these three types of division of stem cells.

  • Recreate Functional Tissues:

Not only self-replication but stem cells can also be used to replicate functional tissues. These powerful units can form differentiated cells like nerve cells, blood cells, and muscle cells. The adult stem cells can differentiate into a particular tissue or organ cells.

Where are Stem Cells Found/Come From/Sources?

The primary two sources of stem cells include:

  • Blastocyst:

A blastocyst is the ball of cells formed after 3-5 days of egg fertilization with sperm. This ball of cells has stem cells and then gets implanted in the womb. The embryonic stem cells are obtained from the blastocyst aging 4-5 days.

This extraction takes place in controlled laboratories with extra embryos. The test tube fertilization is followed to generate blastocyst for stem cells. It is helpful for many patients whose bodies are not able to prepare dynamic stem cells.

blastocyst stem cell

  • Adult Stem Cells:

Stem cells arrive in the human embryo even before any organs are formed. Thus, a part of stem cells remains in the adult human body. These are somatic stem cells or tissue-specific cells and stay in the same state unless needed by muscle cells or skin cells.

The brain’s tissues, bone marrow, blood, blood vessels, liver, skeletal muscles, and skin contain stem cells in the adult human body. These adult stem cells work hard to regenerate any organ by dividing and self-renewing.

What are the Types of Stem Cells?

Stem cells need to differentiate. Hence, based on the stem cells’ differentiate potential, they can be classified into the following types:

  • Unipotent Stem Cells:

These stem cells can grow cells of their type only. They can renew themselves, and examples are adult muscle stem cells.

  • Oligopotent Stem Cells:

These stem cells can differentiate into limited cell types. They can also renew, and myeloid and lymphoid stem cells are examples.

  • Multipotent Stem Cells:

These stem cells can differentiate into multiple cells but only those related to one family. Examples are the hematopoietic cells that can differentiate into platelets, red and white blood cells.

  • Pluripotent Stem Cells:

Embryonic stem cells are pluripotent and can differentiate into almost any cell type.

  • Totipotent Stem Cells:

The first few zygote cells are totipotent stem cells as they can differentiate into all possible cell types.

stem cell application in human body

How do Stem Cells Work/Uses/Applications of Stem Cells?

Some of the best applications of stem cells include:

  • Blood Disease Treatments:

The hematopoietic stem cells occurring in blood and bone marrow can treat different blood diseases.

  • Brain Disease Treatments:

The differentiating embryonic stem cells have vast scope in treating Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.

  • Cardiovascular Disease Treatments:

Human stem cells can be used in creating artificial blood vessels for the treatment of different cardiovascular diseases.

  • Cell Deficiency Therapy:

Stem cells can treat cell deficiency diseases like type-1 diabetes that require pancreatic cells.

  • Tissue Regeneration:

Patients suffering from various organ failures need not opt for replacements as stem cells can differentiate to regenerate tissues.

Stem cells are our building block cells that can renew and differentiate. Stem cells like embryonic cells have promising results in current and upcoming medical therapies. They can be obtained from different sources and have multiple benefits.

Read Also:

List of Diseases that can be Cured & Treated by Stem Cells

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