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Stem Cell Research and Its Therapeutic Applications

BY: Nidhi Uppangala | Category: Stem-Cells | Submitted: 2010-07-07 20:15:14
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Article Summary: "Stem cells are undifferentiated cells with the ability to divide many times by mitosis. When applied sufficient amount of growth factors along with cell growth inducing factors, these stem cells will differentiate into specialized cells, such as heart muscle, cartilage, nervous system, pancreas or skin cells..."


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Introduction:

Stem cells are undifferentiated cells with the ability to divide many times by mitosis. When applied sufficient amount of growth factors along with cell growth inducing factors, these stem cells will differentiate into specialized cells, such as heart muscle, cartilage, nervous system, pancreas or skin cells.

Cystic Fibrosis: Stem Cell- Gene Therapy Approach:

1. Cystic Fibrosis is a hereditary disorder that is this condition is passed on from parent to a child. Cystic fibrosis condition is characterized by lung congestion and infection and malabsorption of nutrients by the pancreas.

2. Cystic fibrosis condition can be treated using stem cells derived from human bone marrow. These cells can be differentiated into airway epithelial cells with the help of growth factors, which are added to the cell culture media.

3. Airway epithelial cells obtained from stem cell differentiation will have active functional gene that is defective in cystic fibrosis patients. These cells with normal functional genes will restore cellular function

4. These cells will help in keeping airways clear of mucus and also allegiants or air-born irritants.

5. Researchers and scientists are hoping to perform first clinical trial in near future or in next 2-3 years.

Biological Pacemaker:

1. Human embryonic stem cells, which are totipotent in nature, can be differentiated into heart cells using genetic engineering technique and also by using chemical substances and growth factors.

2. Heart cells formed by embryonic stem cells beat on their own triggered or induced by the unified beating of heart muscle cells of rat used as feeder layer, in cell culture.

3. When these heart cells are implanted in guinea pigs, showed regular beating just like the normal heart muscle cells.

4. These heart cells also responded to the pharmaceutical compounds or drugs, which are used to slow down or speed up heart rate

5. Genetic engineering technique can be used to produce patient specific pacing rate of these heart cells, this will avoid further complications related to the heart rate of the patient.

Retinal Degeneration:

1. Retinal degeneration is a degenerative disease which destroys retina

2. Bone marrow derived stem cells when injected into the eyes of the mouse with this condition known as retinal degeneration, stopped retinal degeneration.

3. Bone marrow derived stem cells induced normal vasculature, this in turn improved retinal tissue and also response to light in mouse.

4. Other genetic disorders of retina known as retinitis pigmentosa, that have both vascular degeneration and neuronal degeneration can also be cured by injecting stem cells derived from bone marrow.

Stem Cell Therapy for Neurological Disorder:

Neurological disorders are caused due to the loss of particular type of cells in the nervous system.

1. Brain and spinal cord injury or stroke caused by loss of nerve cell and myelin-forming oligodentrites, can be treated by differentiated stem cells into nerve cells by adding growth factors which help in differentiating stem cells into nerve cells.

2. Neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson's disease caused by loss of dopamine containing nerve cells which are present in the brain stem, can be treated using stem cell therapy.

3. Neurodegenerative diseases like Huntington's disease caused by the loss of nerve cells in the striatum can also be treated using stem cell therapy.

4. Neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's disease caused by as a result of loss of nerve cells in the cerebral cortex of the brain can also be cured using stem cell therapy.

5. Neurodegenerative diseases like multiple sclerosis caused by the loss of and myelin-forming oligodendrocytes can be treated using stem cell therapy.

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