Stem Cells. From Biology to Therapy

Stem Cells and Development
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Image credit: Genome Research Limited.

What is a stem cell?

An illustration showing different types of stem cell in the body. A scientist here at the Wellcome Genome Campus working on induced pluripotant stem cells.

These heart cells were grown from stem cells in a petri dish and can be used to study the beating rhythm of the heart. An illustration showing how stem cells can be used to produce retinal pigment epithelium RPE cells that can be used to treat patients with age-related macular degeneration AMD.

Stem cells: What they are and what they do

Cells are the basic building blocks of living things. The human body is composed of trillions of cells, all with their own specialised function.

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This third in the Current Topics in Molecular Cell Biology and Molecular Medicine Series contains a careful selection of new and updated, high-quality articles. The year has brought many advances for the fields of stem cell research and therapy. Our “sibling journals,” Stem Cells (creppacletemysq.mllls.

Mitosis is a process where a single cell divides into two identical daughter cells cell division. Some children with severe combined immunodeficiency SCID , a genetic disorder characterised by a reduced number of immune cells, have been treated using gene therapy.

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Cells for this purpose have previously been obtainable only from sources in very limited supply, such as the pancreatic beta cells obtained from the cadavers of human organ donors. The use of human embryonic stem cells evokes ethical concerns, because the blastocyst -stage embryos are destroyed in the process of obtaining the stem cells.

Stem Cells: From Biology to Therapy, 2 Volume Set

The embryos from which stem cells have been obtained are produced through in vitro fertilization , and people who consider preimplantation human embryos to be human beings generally believe that such work is morally wrong. Others accept it because they regard the blastocysts to be simply balls of cells, and human cells used in laboratories have not previously been accorded any special moral or legal status.

Moreover, it is known that none of the cells of the inner cell mass are exclusively destined to become part of the embryo itself—all of the cells contribute some or all of their cell offspring to the placenta , which also has not been accorded any special legal status. The divergence of views on this issue is illustrated by the fact that the use of human embryonic stem cells is allowed in some countries and prohibited in others.

In the U. The therapy to be tested was known as GRNOPC1, which consisted of progenitor cells partially differentiated cells that, once inside the body, matured into neural cells known as oligodendrocytes. The therapy was designed for the restoration of nerve function in persons suffering from acute spinal cord injury.

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More Special Issues What were you looking for? Visit our Stem Cell Research category page for the latest news on this subject, or sign up to our newsletter to receive the latest updates on Stem Cell Research. MLA Brazier, Yvette. What is a cell?

Embryonic germ EG cells, derived from primordial germ cells found in the gonadal ridge of a late embryo, have many of the properties of embryonic stem cells. The primordial germ cells in an embryo develop into stem cells that in an adult generate the reproductive gametes sperm or eggs. In mice and humans it is possible to grow embryonic germ cells in tissue culture with the appropriate growth factors—namely, LIF and another cytokine called fibroblast growth factor. Stem cell. Article Media. Info Print Print. View all article collections. The field has progressed to the clinic and it is important that this pathway is underpinned by excellent science and rigorous standards of clinical research.

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The journal provides an important avenue of publication in translational aspects of stem cell therapy spanning preclinical studies, clinical research and commercialization. Citation Impact 4. Skip to main content Advertisement.

Search all BMC articles Search. The role of insulin as a key regulator of seeding, proliferation, and mRNA transcription of human pluripotent stem cells.