Stem Cells

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  • Created by: Creny
  • Created on: 29-03-13 11:46

Embryonic Stem Cells

  • Early embryonic stem cells are totipotent 
  • By the blastocyst stage, the inner cells are pluripotent 
  • Pluripotent cells become more specialised as the embryo develops 
  • At around 3 months of pregnancy the cells have become sufficiently specialised (when they divide they only form more of the same type of cell) 
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Umbilical Cord Stem Cells

  • The blood from the placenta and umbilical cord is rich in pluripotent stem cells 
  • The blood can be frozen and stored for future use in treatments for the child or family
  • May be possible to store the blood of every new born but this will require a lot of storage space and costs money
  • Some conditions like leukemia are already present in the blood at birth 
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Adult Stem Cells

  • Know as stomatic stem cells 
  • They are multipotent 
  • Made from many different types of specialised cells 
  • Can exist in the form of undifferenciated cells among normal differenciated cells in a tissue
  • Can differenciate when needed 
  • Found in bone marrow
  • Only a very small number in each different tissue 
  • Difficult to extract 
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Stem Cell Cloning

  • Therapeutic Cloning 
  • The aim is too treat diseases caused by faulty cells (e.g. diabetes or alzheimers) 
  • (1) Remove the nucleus from one normal body cell 
  • (2) Transfer to ovum which has no orginal nucleus 
  • (3) Give mild electic shock 
  • (4) New pre-embryo cell starts to develop, producing a collection of embryonic cells       which the same genetic infomation as the patient 
  • (5) The embryo is now a source of stem cells with the same DNA as the patient 
  • (6) When stem cells are harvested, the embryo is destroyed in the process  
  • (7) Stem cells are cultured 
  • (8) Differentiated cells required are transfered to the patient 
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Advantages and Disadvantages of Stem Cell Therapy

  • Unsure as how genes are turned on/off to produce a specific tissue
  • Could cause the development of cancer in the body
  • Could be used to treat a wide range of diseases 
  • No other cures found yet 
  • Cells are talior-made so are less likley to be rejected by immune system 
  • Can be used for organ transplants which are in high demand 


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Who can benefit from stem cell therapy?

Parkinsons Disease:

  • Nerve cells in brain that produce dopamine (dopamine neurones) stop working or are lost, causing people to develop uncontrollable tremors and movement can be lost
  • Scientists hope that stem cell transplants will mean dopamine neurones will be replaced and restore dopamine production 

Diabetes (type 1):

  • Stem cell therapy can be given to patients, working pancreas cells again, restoring insulin prodution and therefore controling glucose levels 

Damaged Nerves:

  • Embryonic stem cells can make working adult nerve cells and repair damaged spinal cords or partial rejoin them 

Oragns for Transplantaion

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