Ethnic Alternatives in Stem Cell Research
The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine on Wednesday announced that they would be giving out a US$ 25 million award to a spinal cord injury trial conducted Geron Corp. In the research, stem cells will be used to rebuild damaged spinal marrow. While experts agree that the trial could, for the first time, render real results in stem cell research, many critics still oppose the innovative research.
Stem cells are primordial cells that are incredibly versatile. The most flexible stem cells, embryonic stem cells, can turn into any of the bodies over 200 different tissues and therefore hold the potential to cure a whole array of diseases. These are also the type of stem cells that are most commonly rejected on ethical grounds. Embryonic stem cells are created when a human egg and sperm cell fuse.
There are also other types of stem cell researches that are less critical. Adult stem cells are found in a variety of human tissues. While they only have the ability to turn into a certain number of human tissue types, they can still prove valuable to research in specific areas.
Furthermore, adult stem cells can be turned into pluripotent stem cells, so called IPSCs, that resemble embryonic cells more closely. A sick person’s IPSCs can, under laboratory conditions, be inflicted with the same disease the person is suffering from. The tissue samples can subsequently be tested on their receptiveness to a variety of drugs to find out which one would help the patient most.
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