Bio101 Research Essay

Submitted By laynhinfuture
Words: 1187
Pages: 5

Lay Nhin
Bio 101
Jill Parsell
Nov 9th 2012
Super Stem cell Since birth, almost all of our cells are differentiated, which means that they are specialized in their properties and functions. With that being said, our skin cells can only make new copies of skin cells, and our brain cells can only replace brain tissues. Stem cell, however, is the generator and supplier for constructing and replenishing more than one types of cells. The first type is called the human embryonic stem-cell (hESCs), it is undifferentiated cells that can be isolated from the inner cell mass of the blastocyst of a five- or six-day embryo, hence its name. Then it is being maintained and cultured in a lab. Because it is pluripotent, it has the potential to give rise to any type of cell in the body. They can be taken from donated or extra embryos left-overs from fertility procedures. Regardless, it is still controversial in its ethical perspective because some believe that life begins after the fertilization stage (Parsell, 2012). Although not being fully supported by the public, scientists had gone through successful human and animals safety trails. Hilton, was the first person in the UK to receive this treatment for his incurable Stargardt's disease (Boseley, 2012). Stargardt's disease is an inherited disorder that gradually deteriorates sight and ultimately causes blindness at young age. It is caused by the thinning of retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells at the center of the retina which makes light-sensitive rods and cones in the eye to eventually die off due to the loss of RPE cells. Scientists use retinal cells that were collected from human embryonic stem cells then transplant those healthy cells into the back of the patient’s eyes, hoping it will slow or even reverse the deterioration process. This method is still undergoing human trails and it is the first hESCs therapy that has been approved in Europe. Although scientists are still working intensely to hope that one day stem-cells will restore loss vision. More importantly though is the technique has been successfully proven to be safe and tolerable to both Stargardt’s and age-related macular degeneration (Dr. Mandal, 2011). Another type of stem-cell is called adult stem-cells (ASCs), also known as somatic stem-cells, that can be found in several organs of the body including the skin and the bone marrow. By taking a small amount of those cells and culture them so that they can replicate themselves to create new, healthy cells. Though, they are more difficult to maintain and culture than hESCs. Also, they are limited in their ability to develop into different type of cells, in another words, they are multipotent (Bethesda, 2012). This method is less controversy but not necessarily more practical because of its pluripotent capacity . It has successfully been used to alleviate or partial cure many diseases. For example, type 1 diabetes, a popular genetic disease where one's own immune system attacks the beta cells. Patients with diabetes need to constantly inject insulin into their body daily because it produces little to no insulin due to the absence of beta cell. This is crucial because beta cells makes insulin, a hormone that is required to move blood sugars or glucose for storage of energy; otherwise they would get stuck in the blood-streams and cause the increase of blood-sugars levels. Fortunately, beta cell, found in the pancreas, can also be found in the bone marrow. The doctors remove some cells and let them replicate. Next, the patient receives radiation treatment which destroys the whole immune system. Following that, each patient is injected with his own stem-cell. The trick is to destroy the entire existing immune system and use the stem-cell to generate a new system. After the treatment, many patients now do not need to have insulin injected into their system anymore (Park, 2009). Since there are flaws for both stem-cell types. Scientists have discovered another a strategy