What are Embryonic Stem Cells?
Embryonic stem cells are specialized cells derived from human embryos of 3 to 5 days old that are harvested through in-vitro fertilization. This requires fertilizing an embryo in a laboratory setting as an alternative to the regular method of fertilizing an embryo inside the female body.
What is Embryonic Stem Cell Therapy?
Embryonic stem cell therapy is a type of regenerative medicine therapy that promotes the repair response of injured, dysfunctional, or diseased tissue utilizing embryonic stem cells or their derivatives.
What are the Special Properties of Embryonic Stem Cells?
Embryonic stem cells are undifferentiated and are considered pluripotent as they can become any type of cell in the body. Under favorable conditions, embryonic stem cells divide to form specialized cell types with a distinct function, such as heart muscle cells, brain cells, blood cells, or bone cells. No other cells in the human body have the natural ability to produce new cell types as embryonic stem cells.
What is the Role of Embryonic Stem Cell Therapy in Treatment of Diseases?
Human embryos are loaded with a rich source of stem cells that can produce red blood cells and cells of the immune system that can be used to treat a wide range of immune system and blood disorders such as anemia, autoimmune diseases, leukemia, etc.
Embryonic stem cell therapy may also potentially be used to treat other medical conditions, such as:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Spinal cord injury
- Heart disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Huntington’s disease
- Retinal disease
- Hearing loss
Why is There Such an Interest in Embryonic Stem Cell Therapy?
There is a great deal of interest in embryonic stem cell therapy and their research as they facilitate in understanding:
- How diseases occur by observing how stem cells develop into distinct cells of the heart muscle, bones, and other organs and tissue with specialized function
- Safety and effectiveness of new drugs by testing on stem cells before using them on people
- Generation of healthy cells to replace unhealthy cells by guiding stem cells to become specific cells to repair and regenerate unhealthy or damaged tissues
What are the Advantages of Embryonic Stem Cell Therapy?
Some of the well-documented advantages of embryonic stem cell therapy include:
- Embryonic stem cells consist of 10 times more stem cells than adult stem cells from bone marrow.
- Embryonic stem cells rarely contain any infectious diseases and are less likely to be rejected than adult stem cells.
- Embryonic stem cells are free from any abnormalities whereas adult stem cells are likely to contain irregularities due to environmental risk factors such as toxins and errors acquired by the cells through replication.
- Embryonic stem cells have a natural ability to produce new cell types but adult stem cells cannot be manipulated to generate distinct cell types.
- The versatility of embryonic stem cells facilitates in regenerating and repairing diseased organs and tissue.