This article is about Stem Cell Frequently Asked Questions.
What are stem cells?
Stem cells refer to the cells that have the power to develop into a few or many different cell types in body on the basis of their multipotent or pluripotent nature. They act as a type of repair system that can divide with no limit to replenish other cells for as long as the individual or animal is still alive. When a stem cell divides, every daughter cell has the power to stay a stem cell or become another type of cell with more special function like a muscle cell, an RBC or a brain cell.
What are the classes of stem cells?
There are two classes of stem cells:
- Pluripotent stem cells: they can produce any type of cell in the body apart from those who need to be supported and develop a fetus in the womb
- Multipotent stem cells: these are stem cells that can produce only a small number of various types of cell types.
Why are stem cells used?
Once a stem cell line is originated from a cell in the body, it always stays immortal, no matter how it was originated. It means that the researcher using the stem cell line won’t have to go through the tough process needed to isolate the stem cells again. Once the stem cell line has been established, it can be grown in the lab and then the cells can be frozen to be stored or distributed to other researchers. Stem cell lines being grown in the lab offer scientists with the chance to engineer them for using them in transplantation or as a cure from diseases.
For instance, before this, scientists used to use any type of tissue organ or cell for transplantation, they need to overcome trials by a patient’s immune system to reject the transplant. In the forthcoming future, scientists could be able to manipulate the human stem cell lines in the lab with the help of gene therapy or other methods to overcome immune rejection. Scientists can also replace the ruined genes or add new ones for giving them features that can eventually cure diseases.
What are somatic stem cells?
Non embryonic stem cells are found in many organs and tissues. There are very small number of multipotent stem cells in every tissue and these cells are limited to proliferation hence hard to generate huge quantities of cells in the lab. Stem cells are deemed to stay in particular area of every tissue known as stem cell niche where they are quiescent for a number of years until they are triggered by a normal need for more cells, by tissue injury or disease. They are also known as somatic stem cells.