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About Stem Cell Research


Stem cells are undifferentiated cells that can develop into specialized tissue types. Researchers are investigating how to isolate and culture them, and control their differentiation, in the hope that they can be used to treat and understand a variety of diseases.

Stem cells can be derived from a number of cellular sources: adult, fetal, and placental tissues; umbilical cord blood; and embryos. Stem cells from these different sources have different properties.

Adult stem cells can be obtained from the bodies of adults and children, and until recently considered multipotent, which means that particular adult stem cells can develop into specific tissue types. Adult stem cells have been used in therapies such as bone marrow transplants for years.

Embryonic stem cells are found in early embryos. They are pluripotent, which means they can develop into all tissue types and be cultured as stem cell "lines." No therapies have been developed from human embryonic stem cells, which were first isolated in 1998.

In recent years, new methods of cellular reprogramming have enabled the derivation of so-called induced pluripitent stem (iPS) cells, which seem to have the full powers of embryonic stem cells but are from adult body cells.

Human embryonic stem cell research is controversial because it destroys embryos. Most investigations use embryos created but not used for in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment. Some scientists have worked to derive human embryonic stem cells using a cloning technique called research cloning, which raises a separate set of troubling questions.



Stem cell factory opens door for trials of personalized diabetes treatment by Andrew JosephStat NewsJune 16th, 2016The iPS cell treatment for Type I diabetes could enter the clinical trials phase in a few years.
How iPS cells changed the worldby Megan ScudellariNatureJune 15th, 2016Induced pluripotent stem cells have become a potentially helpful method of personalized therapy.
The Politics of Women’s Eggsby Diane ToberUndarkJune 10th, 2016Scientists are eager to pay women for their eggs, but they are less interested in understanding the long-term health impacts of egg donation.
Lab-grown mini-guts open door to personalised medicineby Tarek BazleyAl JazeeraJune 9th, 2016Dutch researchers have used the organoid technology to choose medication tailored for individual patients.
Organ research scientists combine human stem cells and pig DNAby Kevin Rawlinson & Nicola DavisThe GuardianJune 6th, 2016Biological and ethical questions arise when researchers in California try to grow human organs inside pigs in attempt to tackle donor shortage.
California's StemCells, Inc., Flatlines; A Look at the Implicationsby David JensenCalifornia Stem Cell ReportJune 1st, 2016The company's sudden shutdown surprised and shocked some, but it also demonstrated the level of risk in stem cell research.
Debate rages over use of fresh stem cell eggsby Shin Sung-Sik, Kang Ki-Heon, and Esther ChungJoongang Daily [South Korea]May 20th, 2016Some South Korean scientists want the government to let them use fresh women's eggs for cloning-based stem cell research.
It's not just stem cell research that's overhyped—medical science spin is a widespread problemby Kelly CroweCBC NewsMay 18th, 2016The International Society for Stem Cell Research is urging scientists to manage public expectations.
Why this lab-grown human embryo has reignited an old ethical debate[citing CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Patrick MonahanScience/AAASMay 4th, 2016It’s easy to obey a rule when you don’t have the means to break it. Now two teams report growing human embryos nearly that long, prompting some scientists and bioethicists to contend that it’s time to revisit the so-called 14-day rule.
New advances in growing human embryos could prompt ethical firestorm[citing CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Eric BoodmanSTATMay 4th, 2016Changing the 14-day rule is an explosive question in an era when CRISPR gene-editing has sparked fears about “designer babies.”
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