Stem cells obtained from human embryos seem to offer the best chance of new therapies, because unlike other stem cells they have the ability to morph into almost any type of tissue. But researchers complain that political roadblocks are keeping them from determining the full potential of these cells. Six years ago, President Bush limited federally funded research to about 20 viable lines of cells that had been extracted from embryos prior to August 9,
Most cells in the body are differentiated cells. These cells can only serve a specific purpose in a particular organ. For example, red blood cells are specifically designed to carry oxygen through the blood.
Jump to navigation. An adult stem cell is thought to be an undifferentiated cell, found among differentiated cells in a tissue or organ. The adult stem cell can renew itself and can differentiate to yield some or all of the major specialized cell types of the tissue or organ.
Jump to navigation. For many years, researchers have been seeking to understand the body's ability to repair and replace the cells and tissues of some organs, but not others. After years of work pursuing the how and why of seemingly indiscriminant cell repair mechanisms, scientists have now focused their attention on adult stem cells.
The initial concept of regenerative medicine dates all the way back to BC, when Aristotle observed that a lizard could grow back the lost tip of its tail. Slowly over time, humans have grown to understand regenerative medicine, and how it may change the way we treat diseases. It's been only relatively recently that adult non-embryonic stem cell therapy, a type of regenerative medicine, has gathered fast momentum.
Adult stem cells are undifferentiated cellsfound throughout the body after development, that multiply by cell division to replenish dying cells and regenerate damaged tissues. Scientific interest in adult stem cells is centered on their ability to divide or self-renew indefinitely, and generate all the cell types of the organ from which they originate, potentially regenerating the entire organ from a few cells. They have mainly been studied in humans and model organisms such as mice and rats.
Aging is an inevitable, unnerving process that confronts us all. But what is the biology that underlies this process? And what if advances in the field of regenerative medicine could counteract this decline and alleviate the symptoms of old age?