Regenerative Medicine Research
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Regenerative Medicine Stem Cell Clinical Trials
UCLA – Board Research Stem Cell Center –
” Stem cells have the potential to:
• Replace cell tissue that has been damaged or destroyed by illness,
• Replicate themselves over and over for a very long time,
• Help scientists understand the origin of human biological development
• Help scientists understand healthy & diseased cells in the hope of creating treatments & cures for many diseases.
The National Institutes for Health (NIH) notes that stem cells “have the remarkable potential to develop into many different cell types in the body. Serving as a sort of repair system for the body, they can theoretically divide without limit to replenish other cells for as long as the person or animal is still alive. When a stem cell divides, each ‘daughter’ cell has the potential to either remain a stem cell or become another type of cell with a more specialized function, such as a muscle cell, a red blood cell, or a brain cell. A more detailed primer on stem cells can be found at http://stemcells.nih.gov/info/basics .”
Mayo Clinic – Clinical Research Studies
Mayo Clinic – Regenerative Medicine Consult Service
Mayo Clinic – Stem Cell Hope for Stroke
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
“Stem cells have unique abilities to self-renew and to recreate functional tissues.
Stem cells have the ability to self-renew.
Unlike muscle cells, blood cells, or nerve cells—which do not normally replicate— stem cells may replicate many times. When a stem cell divides, the resulting two daughter cells may be: 1) both stem cells, 2) a stem cell and a one more differentiated cell, or 3) both more differentiated cells. What controls the balance between these types of divisions to maintain stem cells at an appropriate level within a given tissue is not yet well known.
Discovering the mechanism behind self-renewal may make it possible to understand how cell fate (stem vs. non-stem) is regulated during normal embryonic development and post-natally, or misregulated as during aging, or even in the development of cancer. Such information may also enable scientists to grow stem cells more efficiently in the laboratory. The specific factors and conditions that allow pluripotent stem cells to remain undifferentiated are of great interest to scientists. It has taken many years of trial and error to learn to derive and maintain pluripotent stem cells in the laboratory without the cells spontaneously differentiating into specific cell types.
Stem cells have the ability to recreate functional tissues.
Pluripotent stem cells are undifferentiated; they do not have any tissue-specific characteristics (such as morphology or gene expression pattern) that allow them to perform specialized functions. Yet they can give rise to all of the differentiated cells in the body, such as heart muscle cells, blood cells, and nerve cells. On the other hand, adult stem cells differentiate to yield the specialized cell types of the tissue or organ in which they reside, and may have defining morphological features and patterns of gene expression reflective of that tissue.
Different types of stems cells have varying degrees of potency; that is, the number of different cell types that they can form. While differentiating, the cell usually goes through several stages, becoming more specialized at each step. Scientists are beginning to understand the signals that trigger each step of the differentiation process. Signals for cell differentiation include factors secreted by other cells, physical contact with neighboring cells, and certain molecules in the microenvironment.”
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