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Essay on Stem Cell Research

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Stem cell therapy is an exciting area of medicine that is both enthusiastically researched and hotly debated. It allows for the possible treatment of conditions that were previously thought to be untreatable. Imagine being one of the many individuals debilitated by injury or disease who have resigned themselves to the fact that it is a permanent affliction. Now, imagine being given hope that the condition could be cured, or at least, greatly improved. It has been suggested that stem cell therapy is the answer to treating many patients greatly improving their quality of life.
In order to determine if stem cell therapy does, in fact, work to repair damage to the human body, one must first understand the basics. What stem cells are, how they work, and, whether or not they been proven effective in clinical trials. This paper attempts to answer those questions in order to determine whether stem cells repair or replace damaged cells and if stem cell therapy is a viable treatment for bodily injury.
Stem cells are the basic building block of every multicellular organism. All other cells are generated from stem cells. They are unique in that they have to ability to reproduce into an exact replica of itself indefinitely. They also have the ability to develop into other types of cells through a process called differentiation. During differentiation, a generic cell becomes specialized in order to perform a specific function. Stem cells work within the body to repair and replace damaged or worn out cells. Differentiation is controlled by many factors including the cell’s genes, the cell’s proximity to surrounding cells, and molecules in the cell’s environment (NIH). Scientists have been working to replicate this process, o...


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...nally or intrathecally. Intralesional application involves the placement of stem cells directly into the location of damage while inrathecal application administers the stem cells into the spinal column. The results of the study show that intralesional administration was more effective because it allowed for a higher concentration of stem cells treating the damaged area. Intrathecal administration resulted in some of the stem cells being distributed to areas that were not damaged. The human subjects experienced both sensory improvement and improvement in motor power. The death of one canine subject was unrelated to the treatment and a second experienced a complete recovery of hind limb function (Dedeepiya).
Until recently, stem cell research studies have involved using adult stem cells on human subjects or, embryonic stem cells on animal subjects.






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