StemCellResources.org is a resource for better understanding of stem cell research and its impact on medical and dental advancement, breakthroughs in understanding fertility, muscle and organ development.
Embryonic Stem Cell Research
The topic of embryonic stem cells, or ES cells, is controversial. ES cells are cells that can be isolated from early embryos. Even before they differentiate into specific types of cells.
There is great interest in exploring the use of ES cells to treat and cure various diseases because of the potential for stem cells to generate fresh, healthy cells of nearly any type.
The controversy regarding human ES cells relates to their derivation from very early embryos and can generate exact match cells through a technique called cloning using somatic cell nuclear transfer.
Research is suggesting that woman can produce an increased number of eggs than that they were borne with. Stem cells can give rise to cells that appear to be mature oocytes if taken from the ovaries of reproductive age women.
These findings were reported in the March 2012 issue of Nature Medicine and opens the door to a new generation of assisted fertility treatments.
Thyroid Level’s Relationship To Stem Cells
The link between Stem Cell production and Thyroid Levels is well documented. This video by Dr Nixon of the Longevity Medical Clinic highlights this and we note unbalanced levels of thyroid can lead to symptoms of hypothyroidism.
Adult Stem Cells
Adult stem cell research has advanced in leaps and bounds over the past decade. What was once viewed as inflexible, unable to proliferate and set in its ways has now been found to revert back to its earlier state. New evidence suggests that taking an adult stem cell from bone marrow or the spinal cord can become a blank slate like fetal stem cells, rather than possessing the sole ability to produce more bone marrow or more spinal cord tissue only. As a result of this finding, scientists hope to create more effective treatments for a wide range of degenerative diseases and disabling injuries.
The adult one shares two characteristics with the fetal stem cell. They can both replicate to create identical copies of themselves for extended periods of time, thus are self-renewing. Additionally, they can morph into other cell types and perform specialized functions. While it was previously believed that adult stem cells were set in their ways and committed to becoming a particular cell type, it’s recently been discovered that they are, in fact, much more flexible than was ever imagined.
One of the most exciting adult stem cell discoveries occurred in 2008 when researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California coaxed mouse brain stemcells to differentiate into support cells and function with the surrounding neuronal network. When pampered in a Petri dish, scientists found that they could encourage oligodendrocyte cells to form the fatty myelin sheath that speeds up the transfer of electrical signals along the axons.
They could also stimulate cellular growth in the hippocampus; the brain’s center for memories and learning. Scientists hope this research can provide a breakthrough in the treatment of multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, stroke and epilepsy.
There are a few challenges to working with the adult stem cell. If used outside the body, scientists must take great care to ensure the culture is 100% germ-free and pure. In many studies using mice, the cultures have been only 80% pure. As an organism ages, there are a number of factors that could jeopardize the purity of the stem cell sample, such as exposure to toxins, disease or DNA errors, for instance.
Great care must also be taken to ensure that cells replicate as needed and don’t go crazy to form cancerous tumors. Since the immune system is trained to attack any foreign invaders, any stem cell transplants may be subject to intense scrutiny, even if it is derived from one’s own cells. Despite these challenges, there is much to be excited about in the field of adult stem cell research.
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