Stem Cells

Stem Cells

by Josh

Stem cells are a special kind of cells found in your body that fuel growth. These cells are unique in their chameleon-like ability to change into almost any other type of cell that exists in your body, allowing them to replace any defective cell in the body. Basically, this amounts to the ability to cure any cell-related illness, because unhealthy, damaged, or infected cells can be replaced with new, undamaged stem cells. Unfortunately, stem cells are also extremely rare, and most simply transform into other cells on command. For each 100,000 regular cells in your body, there is only one stem cell!

What is the answer to this insurmountable-seeming search? There is a lab-cultivated virus that quite simply reactivates the stem cell genes in other cells, allowing for endless amounts of lab-cultivated stem cells! The stem cells have already been used for curing blindness in animals by, replacing the defective cells in the blind animal’s eye! Who knows what the limit is with almost-endless possibilities surrounding the stem cell?

When I think about stem cells and regenerative medicine, I think of certain injuries that cause irreversible damage in the human body. I think of people with spinal cord injuries, who become permanently paralyzed, or people with Alzheimer’s disease, whose brains are slowly deteriorating. Then, I think of how stem cells could repair the damage done to a spinal cord, or how stem cells can rebuild organs, like the brain. That is how stem cells could save the world.

References:

http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=6305502n
http://www.postandcourier.com/news/2009/mar/16/a_primer_on_how_stem_cells_work75026/
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/stem-cells/CA00081
http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/tech/stemcells/quickref/
http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/tech/stemcells/scfuture/
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tPulEAryPO0
http://www.explorestemcells.co.uk/stem-cells-treat-blindness.html
http://www.teachersdomain.org/asset/nsn08_vid_stemcell2/
http://www.ndep.us/Building-Body-Parts
http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/life/cellular-microscopic/stem-cell1.htm
 
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Posted December 13, 2011 by sciencesavestheworld