Stem Cell Types and Therapies Image

Stem Cell Types and Therapies

There are a number of stem cell types and in this article we want to explore what the best type of stem cell to use for therapies will be. Pluripotent stem cells have great therapeutic potential but there are a lot of technical challenges. First scientists have to learn how to control their development into all the different types of cells in the body. Secondly the cells that are now available for research are likely to be rejected by a patient’s immune system and this must be overcome before any therapies can be created. Another thing that is causing serious consideration is that the idea of using stem cells from human embryos or human fetal tissue is creating a lot of controversy.

Up until recently, there was little evidence that multipotent adult stem cells could change course and provide the flexibility that researchers need in order to address all the medical diseases and disorders that they would like to. New finding in animals, however, suggest that even after a stem cells has begun to specialize, it may still be more flexible than previously thought.

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There are several limitations to using adult stem cells and although many different kinds of multipotent stem cells have been identified, adult stem cells that could give rise to all cell and tissue types have still not been found. Adult stem cells are only present in small quantities and this means that they can be difficult to isolate and purify. There is also evidence that they may not have the same capacity to multiple as embryonic stem cells do. Finally, adult stem cells may contain more DNA abnormalities. These can be caused by sunlight, toxins, and errors in making more DNA copies during the course of a lifetime. These potential weaknesses might limit the usefulness of adult stem cells.

While searching for stem cell types and the best ones for therapies, scientists discovered that it is possible to reprogram adult somatic cells to become like embryonic stem cells. These are called induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and they are created by introducing embryonic genes. This gives researchers a source of cells that can be generating that are specific to the donor. This will increase the chance of compatibility if such cells were to be used for tissue regeneration.

Researchers are still working on determining the methods by which iPSCs can be completely and reproducibly committed to appropriate cell lineages. Since these cells are derived from adult cells, iPSCs may also suffer DNA abnormalities.

Research is continuing and if it proves successful, iPSCs would be deemed to be the best type of stem cells to treat and cure diseases.