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Knowledge At MET

Knowledge At MET


Stem cells were first discovered in 1978 in Human cord blood and after this date, advancements in human stem cell research have been continuously taking place. Stem Cells are body's natural reservoir – replenishing the stocks of specialized cells that have been used up or damaged. We all have stem cells at work inside us and right now inside your bone marrow , stem cells are busy making the 100,000 million new blood cells that you need every single day!

Stem cells are unspecialized cells that have this unique ability to produce both types of cells, copies of themselves (aka self-renewal) and other specialized cell types (aka differentiation). Stem cells, therefore, are essential for the maintenance of tissues such as blood, skin and gut that undergo continuous turnover (cell replacement), and muscle, which can be built up according to the body's needs and is often damaged during physical exertion. Unlike other cell, stem cells do not have specialized physiological properties.

Recently, human stem cells are being used in researches and clinics. The primary goal of these researches is to find how the undifferentiated human stem cells differentiate into different cell types and form tissues and organs. Thanks to these researchers, some human stem cell applications are now possible while some potential applications will enhance pharmaceutical, biological and genetic fields, resulting in betterment of human life.

Applications of Human Stem Cells:

  • To study development

Stem cells may help us understand how a complex organism develops from a fertilized egg. In laboratory, scientists can follow stem cells as they divide and become increasingly specialized. Identifying the signals and mechanisms that determine whether a stem cell chooses to carry on replicating itself or differentiate into a specialize cell type, will help us understand what controls the normal development. A better understanding of stem cells will help scientists understand how these diseases like cancer, or genetic birth defects arise and how to tackle them, eventually eradicating them.

  • Exploitation of stem cell's ability to replace damaged cells and treat diseases by stem cell therapy

This application is already being used in treatment of extensive burns, and to restore the blood system in patients with leukemia and other blood disorders. Stem cells hold the key to replacing cells which are lost in many other devastating diseases for which there are currently no sustainable cures. In today's world, donated organ is used to replace the damaged organ. But the need for such transplantable tissues is exceeding the supply. We can direct the stem cells to differentiate and produce cardiac tissue or the entire heart and use it to treat a patient suffering from heart diseases.More recently, stem cells from the blood stream and umbilical cord stem cells have been used to treat some of the variety of blood and bone marrow diseases, blood cancers, and immune disorders.

  • To study diseases

In many cases, it is difficult to obtain cells that are damaged in a disease and to study them in detail. Understand the pathophysiology.But stem cells which are carrying a disease or are engineered to carry a disease can offer a variable alternative. Scientists can use stem cells to model disease processes in the laboratory, and to understand better about what goes wrong and how to prevent the disease's proliferation.

  • Stem cells provide a resource for testing new medical treatments

It is difficult to obtain infected cells for checking the potential and activity of the new treatment, nor can one test new medical treatments directly on live humans or animals. Such new medications can be tested on specialized cells generated in large number from stem cell lines. This provides an alternative for clinical trials.

Stem cell research has now progressed dramatically and there are countless research studies published each year in scientific journals. Researchers still have a long way to go before they completely control the regulation of stem cells. The potential is overwhelmingly positive and with continued support and research, scientists will ideally be able to harness the full power of stem cells to treat diseases that you or a loved one may suffer from one day.Human stems cells are considered to be the next big thing which will revolutionize mankind's fight with diseases.

Amey Revdekar

F. Y. B. Pharm

Tags: MET Institute of Pharmacy