Stem cells are tiny cells on the human body that works as a natural reservoir that stores damaged or used up specialized cells. Millions of stem cells work inside every human being. Every moment, stem cells in your bone marrow are making millions of new blood cells required every day by your body.
The new cells have to be generated in your body to keep it functioning properly. Muscle cells and blood cells are some special cells that cannot create their new cells by their division so stem cells have to help in refilling them.
The ability to produce their own copy and the copy of some other special cells make stem cells more special for every human being. In this way stem cells are important for the maintenance of tissues like skin, blood, muscles and ever-changing replacement cells which usually damage during physical exertion and have to be replaced as per the need of the body.
Use of stem cells
Stem cells can be used in many ways including:
To study development
The development of a complex organism from a fertilized egg can be understood with the help of stem cells. The scientists observe the stem cells when they divide to become more special cells while making bone, brain and skin along with other cells. They can understand the ways to control that control normal development of the body by identifying the mechanisms and signals that find out whether a stem cell will be converted into some special type of cell or replicate itself.
Due to abnormal division and differentiation of stem cells can cause some most critical medical conditions like birth defects or cancers. The reason for these diseases and their suitable treatment can be found out by understanding molecular and genetic controls of division and differentiation of stem cells.
To replace damaged cells and treat disease
Stem cells can also be used for treating certain diseases and replacing damaged cells like restoring blood system in leukemia patients, treating extensive burns and blood disorders
They can also be used to replace the lost cells due to certain diseases that are incurable to date. In order to replace damaged tissues, at present donated organs and tissues are used but the supply of transplantable organs and tissues is much less than their demand. In such condition, stem cells can be used as a renewable source of tissues and cells to treat various diseases like stroke, Parkinson’s, diabetes and heart diseases, if they can be converted into specific types of cells. Though it seems exciting but stem cell match is one of the technical hurdles that may need intensive research to overcome.
To study disease
Sometimes it becomes difficult to study the cells damaged due to a certain disease. In such condition, stem cells containing the genes of the disease or made to contain those genes can be used as an alternative to study the causes and remedies for that disease.
To test new medical treatments
Stem cells can reduce the need for testing new medicines on animals as they can be tested safely on specialized cells generated by them in large numbers. Some of such cells are already in use to test new medications like cancer cells are used to test the potential of drugs used for treating tumors.
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