Properties and potential of stem cells

Properties and potential of stem cells

Stem cells are unspecialized cells that have the remarkable potential ((unipotent, multipotent or pluripotent stem cells)  to develop into many different cell types in the body,they have unique abilities to self-renew and to recreate functional tissues. Stem cells can be classified into two main types: embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells. Embryonic stem cells are pluripotent, meaning they can give rise to all of the differentiated cells in the body, such as heart muscle cells, blood cells, and nerve cells. Adult stem cells, on the other hand, are multipotent, meaning they can differentiate into a limited number of cell types.

All stem cells, regardless of their source, have three general properties:

  • They are capable of dividing and renewing themselves for long periods.
  • They are unspecialized.
  • They can give rise to specialized cell types.

Given their unique regenerative abilities, there are many ways in which human stem cells are being used in biomedical research and therapeutics development. Stem cells have the potential to treat many human afflictions, including aging, cancer, diabetes, blindness, and neurodegeneration. To be useful for transplant purposes, stem cells must be reproducibly made to proliferate extensively and generate sufficient quantities of cells for replacing lost or damaged tissues, differentiate into the desired cell type(s), and survive in the host after transplantation. Stem cells are also being used to study the biology of disease and test drugs.

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