What are embryonic stem cells and why do scientists consider them an amazing tool in the medical field? Stem cell research leads many to believe in the capabilities of embryonic stem cells. Some are also saying it could be the next best thing in research and regenerative medicine. Keep reading for more embryonic stem cell research facts.
What are Embryonic Stem Cells: A Quick Intro
In This Article:
- Embryonic Stem Cells Definition
- Where Embryonic Stem Cells Come From
- Embryonic Stem Cells vs. Adult Stem Cells
- Replication and Renewal
- Best Proposed Uses
1. Embryonic Stem Cells Definition
— Fergus Walsh (@BBCFergusWalsh) September 28, 2017
Embryonic stem cells are stem cells taken from the inner mass cells of a human embryo. They are incredibly valuable due to their pluripotency and replication properties.
Pluripotent cells are very important in regenerative medicine. These cells allow them to turn into the 3 germ layers of the human body: ectoderm, mesoderm, and endoderm. Then after months of growth in culture dishes, the embryonic stem cells can form cells of the muscle, nerve, or blood. Ultimately, it can potentially create any cell type found in the human body.
2. Where Embryonic Stem Cells Come From
The embryonic stem cells are derived from human embryos. These embryos are often left over from fertility clinics, in a stasis of embryonic development. The fertility clinics usually have a number of unused embryos from their assisted production attempts of in-vitro fertilization (IVF). Finally, the human embryos are then donated for research purposes or clinical trials once the donor provides consent.
3. Embryonic Stem Cells vs. Adult Stem Cells
— JOHN NOSTA (@JohnNosta) June 13, 2017
The pluripotent property is the distinguishing factor of human embryonic stem cells. It allows the cell to develop into all the different human body cell types. Non-embryonic stem cells such as adult stem cells, on the other hand, are multipotent. Unlike embryonic stem cells, they are harvested from a bone marrow or umbilical cord blood. They are not in abundance in terms of their production. Due to this, they can only produce a certain number of the human body’s cell types.
4. Replication and Renewal
— LSFM4LIFE (@LSFM4LIFE) September 29, 2017
These stem cells also carry the ability to replicate indefinitely and promote stem cell self-renewal. This heightens their significance in the medical field. Scientists are able to use them as helpful tools in the fields of research and regenerative medicine. For example, scientists could test new drugs and cures on human embryonic stem cell-derived cells. As a result, they would not run out of supply because the cells can produce limitless copies of themselves.
The tests done on embryonic stem cells can also aid acceleration in the drug discovery process. Ultimately, it can lead to safer, faster, and more effective treatments and cures.
5. Best Proposed Uses
No field of biotechnology has promised more and delivered less in the way of treatments than embryonic stem cells.https://t.co/y4HbPN21ba
— talk4truth (@talk4truth) October 4, 2017
Embryonic stem cells primary proposals include regenerative medicine and tissue replacement. Coincidentally, their pluripotent properties also make them an optimum choice for blood and immune-system genetic diseases and cancers. Embryonic stem cells may also aid in curing other conditions such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s disease, diabetes, spinal cord injuries, and blindness.
Want a deeper understanding of what embryonic stem cells are? Press play on the video below from Khan Academy. It will give you an overview of the zygote’s early development to an embryo:
The presence of embryonic stem cells is a massive and important step of the field of science and medicine. They may be the answer to insulin-producing cells to combat diabetes or regeneration of motor neurons for patients with Parkinson’s disease. Further research into human embryonic stem cells, stem cell therapy, and further testing in clinical trials will give patients a better chance at receiving new cures and treatments.
Have more questions on the topic of embryonic stem cells? Leave them in the comment section below. We’ll be happy to answer them!
Editor’s Note – This post was originally published on October 16, 2017 and has been updated for quality and relevancy.