Stem cells are one of the most fascinating areas of biology today. But like many expanding fields of scientific inquiry, research on stem cells raises scientific questions as rapidly as it generates new discoveries.
Stem cells are cells found in all multi-cellular organisms. They retain the ability to renew themselves through mitotic cell division and can differentiate into a diverse range of specialized cell types
Stem cells in the human body have a unique ability to renew themselves and give rise to the more specialized cell types that do the work of the body. Stem cells remain unspecialized until a signal from the body tells them to develop into specific cells of the body like a heart, nerve, or skin cell.
Stem cells are cells in the human body that have the ability to continuously divide and develop into different kinds of tissues. It is anticipated that in the near future it will possible to trigger stem cells to transform into specific cell types, for example blood, skin and brain cells. These cells could then be able to be used to repair diseased or damaged tissue in patients and may be able to treat diseases such as cancers, spinal cord injury, heart disease and neurological disease. Research using stem cells is a relatively new area.
Stem cells have two important characteristics that distinguish them from other types of cells. First, they are unspecialized cells that renew themselves for long periods through cell division. The second is that under certain physiologic or experimental conditions, they can be induced to become cells with special functions such as the beating cells of the heart muscle or the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas
In recent years, stem cells have been the subject of considerable excitement. Great progress has been made in understanding their mechanisms and unravelling their potential for therapeutic application. Widespread use of stem-cell-based therapies is still a long way off, but could one day benefit vast numbers of patients, including those with cancer, neurodegenerative disorders and heart disease.The University of Nottingham UK and University of Edinburgh UK offers post graduate programme in stem cell technology.