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Stem Cells

Stem Cells

Stem Cells possess a unique ability to differentiate into various cell types, ranging from muscle cell to neurons in the brain. Stem cell also have the ability to repair damaged cells. These cells have strong healing power. They can evolve into any type of cell. Research on stem cell is going on, and it is believed that stem cell therapies can cure ailments like paralysis and Alzheimer’s as well. Let us have a detailed look at stem cell, their types and their functions.

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What are Stem Cells?

The fundamental components of the body are stem cells, which give rise to all other cells with specialized functions. Daughter cells are created when stem cells divide properly to generate more cells in the body or a lab under appropriate conditions. These daughter cells can either develop into additional stem cells or specialize into differentiated cells with a more defined purpose, such as bone, blood, brain, or heart muscle cells. No other cell in the body has the natural ability to generate new cell types. They have the ability to self-renewal. They are unspecialized but They can give rise to specialized cell types.

Stem cells are present inside different types of tissue. Scientists have found stem cells in tissues, including:

  • Brain
  • Bone marrow
  • Blood and blood vessels
  • Skeletal muscles
  • Skin
  • Liver

Types of Cells

  • Embryonic Stem Cells
  • Adult Stem Cells
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells
  • Mesenchymal stem cells
1. Embryonic Stem Cells

Upon fertilization, the egg promptly undergoes division, yielding totipotent cells throughout the nascent embryo. Within a brief span, these cells organize to create a hollow structure. Subsequently, a cluster of cells within this structure coalesce to form the inner cell mass, housing pluripotent cells crucial for the development of the fetus.

  • Totipotent SC: These possess the capability to differentiate into all types of stem cells.
  • Pluripotent SC: Derived from early embryos, these can differentiate into any cell type.
  • Multipotent SC: Hematopoietic stem cells are an example, as they can differentiate into closely related cell types such as red and white blood cells.
  • Oligopotent SC: Found in adult lymphoid or myeloid cells, they have the ability to differentiate into a limited number of cell types.
  • Unipotent SC: These stem cells have the capacity to produce only one type of cell, such as muscle progenitor cell, while also being able to renew themselves.
2. Adult Stem Cells

These stem cells come from developed organs and tissues. They possess the ability to repair and replace damaged tissues in their respective locations. For instance, hematopoietic stem cells reside in the bone marrow. Doctors utilize these progenitor cell in bone marrow transplants to treat certain types of cancers.

3. Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

These cells have been cultured and manipulated in the laboratory, transforming tissue-specific cells into embryonic-like cells. Recognized as a valuable resource, they offer insights into normal development, disease onset, and progression, as well as serving as a platform for drug testing. Possessing traits akin to embryonic cells, these stem cells hold the capacity to differentiate into all cell types found in the human body.

4. Mesenchymal Stem Cells

Stromal cells, mainly consisting of connective tissues that envelop organs, are the cells under discussion. These mesenchymal progenitor cell, which originate from stroma, were first identified in bone marrow. They showed the potential to differentiate into bone, fat, and cartilage cells. Mesenchymal progenitor cell obtained from various human tissues are used to treat various diseases, with their characteristics reflecting the specific organ they come from.

What is SC Therapy in India?

  • Stem cell treatments for blood diseases and cancers primarily rely on hematopoietic progenitor cell derived from bone marrow or umbilical cord blood, both in India and globally.
  • Ongoing research is exploring the potential use of progenitor cell for treating other illnesses and different types of progenitor cell, but this is still in progress.
  • Despite the widespread excitement surrounding progenitor cell therapies, medical professionals routinely utilize hematopoietic progenitor cell to treat blood diseases and cancers through procedures such as hematopoietic progenitor cell transplant (HSCT) or bone marrow transplant (BMT).
  • The NGSR 2017 deems it unethical and constitutes malpractice to promote progenitor cell therapy commercially for treating any medical condition.

Way Forward

  • It’s really important for everyone involved to follow the rules set by the center. Even though there are guidelines in place, some researchers, hospitals, and healthcare workers are still using progenitor cell without getting the proper authorization. This could cause issues down the line.We should really encourage the sharing of findings from progenitor cell treatment trials.
  • In a field like progenitor cell science, which is growing quickly and getting a lot of attention in the media, it’s crucial that our progress is based on solid evidence. Sharing our findings helps us all move forward together.
  • We need to make sure patients are protected from clinics that offer experimental treatments just to make a profit. People need to understand the real benefits and limitations of progenitor cell therapy so they can make informed decisions about their health.
  • It’s important to clear up any misunderstandings about India’s role in supplying embryos for questionable research. Regulating IVF clinics can help with this, ensuring that ethical standards are upheld.
  • Any medical facilities allowed to provide progenitor cell therapy should be properly certified. This ensures that patients are receiving treatment from trusted professionals in a safe environment.

Read Also: Gene Therapy – UPSC

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