Slides in this set
What are Stem Cells?
Stem cells are undifferentiated cells that have the potential to become any type of cell
in the body. This is providing they are under the correct conditions.
Where are Stem Cells
found in the body?
There are many different sources of Stem cells in the body. These include,
Embryonic, Foetal, Umbilical Cord Blood, Placental and Adult.
Embryonic Stem Cells are the unspecialised cells found in the early stages of an
Umbilical Cord Blood Stem cells are found in umbilical cord blood. These cells are
specialised and can only develop into certain types of cells.
Adult Stem Cells are unspecialized and are capable of becoming most types of cells
but not all types.
In adults, Stem Cells can be found in Bone Marrow, the heart and the brain.…read more
What is a Stem Cell?
A Stem Cell is an undifferentiated cell. This means it has not yet been
specialised to become a specific type of cell. Stem Cells are therefore very
useful in medical technologies because under the correct conditions they
have the potential to become whatever type of cell is required. For example,
Leukaemia which is a blood cancer has been treated with stem cells from
bone marrow for 30 years. A patients own cancerous cells, which are the
white blood cells, are destroyed by chemotherapy or radiotherapy. The new
bone marrow from a donor is introduced into the patient and the stem cells
then produce healthy white blood cells.…read more
How are Stem Cells
used in medical treatment?
A lot of research is going on at the moment to try and find a way of using
stem cells to repair brain diseases such as Parkinson's or Alzheimer's. It is
hoped that the stem cells can be used to repair the damaged brain tissue that
causes these diseases. Using stem Cells to cure these brain diseases is a
realistic possibility but still at the experimental stage. Other conditions that
doctors hope to treat with stem cells in the future include spinal cord
injuries and diabetes.…read more
Problems and Ethical
One of the problems with using donor stem cells is that recipients body could reject
them. Therefore it would be ideal if undifferentiated stem cells from an individuals
umbilical cord blood could somehow be stored should they be needed for future use.
There is already a company called Smart Cells International, who have been
collecting stem cells in this way since 2001. Parents pay to have their newborn child's
stem cells stored in case they are needed in the future.
Ethical issues are usually about the use of embryonic stem cells rather than umbilical
cord blood stem cells. This is because an embryo is considered to be the beginning of
a life and removal of the stem cells destroys this life. On the other hand, umbilical
cord tissue is discarded at birth, so no ethical issues arise over this matter.…read more