Stem Cells Facts
What are Stem Cells?
If you wondered “What are Stem Cells?” here you’ll know a little more about them. Stem cells are the body’s “master cells”. They have the ability to divide (self replicate) and they also have the potential to develop into many different cell types that make up the human body, such as organ tissue, blood, and the immune system. Stem cells also serve as a form of internal repair system, dividing and differentiating to replace damaged or dead tissue.
Why are Stem Cells Important?
Now that we know what stem cells, we must know its importance. It is those two characteristics: the ability to multiply and the capacity to develop into other types of cells, that, under certain physiologic or experimental conditions, propel stem cells to the forefront of today’s scientific community. Every day, cutting edge stem cell research furthers scientific understanding about how healthy cells develop and replace damaged cells.
In practice, this means that there is enormous potential for finding effective medical treatments and/or cures for a wide array of diseases.
Stem cells can be obtained from a number of sources, including embryos, afterbirth placenta, adult tissue, umbilical cord blood, adipose tissue and dental pulp.
We have seen What are Stem Cells and their importance, now we know the Types of Stem Cells
Stem cells are classified by their ability to differentiate into different cell types:
- Totipotent – a stem cell that has the ability to differentiate into all cell types. Examples include the first few cells after the division of the zygote.
- Pluripotent – a stem cell that has the ability to differentiate into almost all cell types. Examples include embryonic stem cells.
- Multipotent – a stem cell that has the ability to differentiate into a closely related family of cells. Examples include HSC and MSC.
- Oligopotent – a stem cell that has the ability to differentiate into a few cells. Examples include myleoid stem cells.
- Unipotent – a stem cell that has the ability to differentiate into only one cell type. Example muscle stem cells.