Understanding Stem Cell Therapy

Thursday, December 19th, 2019, 7:58 pm

Stem Cell Therapy | 16 December 2019

Stem cell researchers are making great advances in understanding normal development, figuring out what goes wrong in disease and developing and testing potential treatments to help patients. They still have much to learn, however, about how stem cells work in the body and their capacity for healing. Safe and effective treatments for most diseases, conditions and injuries are in the future. Here are some of the more common terms used when discussing Stem Cell Therapy: 

Blastocyst

A very early embryo that has the shape of a ball and consists of approximately 150-200 cells. It contains the inner cell mass, from which embryonic stem cells are derived, and an outer layer of cells called the trophoblast that forms the placenta.

Cell line

Cells that can be maintained and grown in a dish outside of the body.

Clinical translation

The process of using scientific knowledge to design, develop and apply new ways to diagnose, stop or fix what goes wrong in a particular disease or injury.

Differentiation

The process of development with an increase in the level of organization or complexity of a cell or tissue, accompanied by a more specialized function.

Embryo

The early developing organism; this term denotes the period of development between the fertilized egg and the fetal stage.

Innovative medicine

Treatments that are performed on a small number of people and are designed to test a novel technique or treat a rare disease. These are done outside of a typical clinical trial framework.

In vitro fertilization

A procedure in which an egg cell and sperm cells

are brought together in a dish to fertilize the egg.

The fertilized egg will start dividing and, after several divisions, forms the embryo that can be implanted into the womb of a woman and give rise to pregnancy.

Mesenchymal stem cells

Mesenchymal stem cells were originally discovered in the bone marrow, but have since been found throughout the body and can give rise to a large number of connective tissue types such as bone, cartilage and fat.

Multipotent stem cells

Stem cells that can give rise to several different types of specialized cells, but in contrast to a pluripotent stem cell, are restricted to a certain organ or tissue types. For example, blood stem cells are multipotent cells that can produce all the different cell types that make up the blood but not the cells of other organs such as the liver or brain.

Pluripotent stem cells

Stem cells that can become all the cell types that are found in an implanted embryo, fetus or developed organism. Embryonic stem cells are pluripotent stem cells.

Self-renewal

The process by which a cell divides to generate another cell that has the same potential.

Stem cells

Cells that have both the capacity to self-renew (make more stem cells by cell division) and to differentiate into mature, specialized cells.

Tissue-specific stem cells

(also known as adult or somatic stem cells)

Stem cells found in different tissues of the body that can give rise to some or all of the mature cell types found within the particular tissue or organ from which they came, i.e., blood stem cells can give rise to all the cells that make up the blood, but not the cells of organs such as the liver or brain.

Totipotent stem cells

Stem cells that, under the right conditions, are wholly capable of generating a viable embryo (including the placenta) and, for humans, exist until about four days after fertilization, prior to the blastocyst stage from which embryonic stem cells are derived.

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