Stem cell paper - A stem cell is a special kind of cell...

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to give rise to specialized cell types. Although most cells of the body, such as heart cells or skin cells, are committed to conduct a specific function, a stem cell is uncommitted and remains uncommitted, until it receives a signal to develop into a specialized cell. Their proliferative capacity combined with the ability to become specialized makes stem cells unique. Researchers have for years looked for ways to use stem cells to replace cells and tissues that are damaged or diseased. Recently, stem cells have received much attention. What is “new” and what has brought stem cell bio-logy to the forefront of science and public policy? Scientists interested in human development have been studying animal development for many years. This research yielded our first glimpse at a class of stem cells that can develop into any cell type in the body. This class of stem cells is called pluripotent, meaning the cells have the potential to develop almost all of the more than 200 different known cell types. Stem cells with this unique property come from embryos and fetal tissue. In 1998, for the first time, investigators were able to isolate this class of pluripotent stem cell from early human embryos and grow them in culture. In the few years since this discovery, evidence has emerged that these stem cells are, indeed, capable of becoming almost all of the specialized cells of the body and, thus, may have the potential to generate replacement cells for a broad array of tissues and organs, such as the heart, the pancreas, and the nervous system. Thus, this class of human stem cell holds the promise of being able to repair or replace cells or tissues that are damaged or destroyed by many of our most devastating diseases and disabilities. At about the same time as scientists were beginning to explore human pluripotent stem cells from embryos and fetal tissue; a flurry of new information was emerging about a class of stem
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This note was uploaded on 04/19/2008 for the course ANSC 140 taught by Professor Jones during the Fall '07 term at Western Kentucky University.

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Stem cell paper - A stem cell is a special kind of cell...

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