Lecture on Adult Stem Cells and Regeneration

Adult stem cells are undifferentiated cells found throughout the body that divide to replenish dying cells and regenerate damaged tissues. Also known as somatic (from Greek Σωματικóς, of the body) stem cells, they can be found in children, as well as adults.
Research into adult stem cells has been fueled by their abilities 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. Unlike embryonic stem cells, the use of adult stem cells in research and therapy is not controversial because the production of adult stem cells does not require the destruction of an embryo. Adult stem cells can be isolated from a tissue sample obtained from an adult. They have mainly been studied in humans and model organisms such as mice and rats.


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Adult stem cells are being developed for use in treatments for a variety of human conditions, ranging from blindness to spinal cord injury.Since adult stem cells can be harvested from the patient, potential ethical issues and immunogenic rejection are averted. Adult stem cells, like embryonic stem cells, have pluripotent potential and can differentiate into cells derived from all three germ layers. Research has demonstrated that pluripotent stem cells can be directly generated from adult fibroblast cultures.



Adult stem cells are available in high quantities in cord blood, which can be collected at birth and are not difficult to isolate and purify. Other adult stem cell types can be multiplied in-vitro to therapeutic numbers, if needed.
While embryonic stem cell potential remains theoretical, adult stem cell treatments are already being used to successfully treat many diseases. The use of adult stem cells in research and therapy is not as controversial as embryonic stem cells, because the production of adult stem cells does not require the destruction of an embryo. Adult stem cells also pose no medical dangers to the patient. Among the most stunning advancements in adult stem cell therapy are treatments for Parkinson's disease, juvenile diabetes, and spinal cord injuries


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