What are stem cells

Stem cells are cells with the potential to develop into many different types of cells in the body. They serve as a repair system for the body.

There are two main types of stem cells: e

  • Embryonic stem cells
  • Adult stem cells

Stem cells are different from other cells in the body in three ways:

  • They can divide and renew themselves over a long time
  • They are unspecialized, so they cannot do specific functions in the body
  • They have the potential to become specialized cells, such as muscle cells, blood cells, and brain cells

Doctors and scientists are excited about stem cells because they could help in many different areas of health and medical research. Studying stem cells may help explain how serious conditions such as birth defects and cancer come about. Stem cells may one day be used to make cells and tissues for therapy of many diseases. Examples include Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, spinal cord injury, heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis [1].

Learn about the science of stem cells and how these incredible, transforming cells could lead to personalized medicine for individual bodies.

Is personalized medicine for individual bodies in our future? Possibly — with the use of stem cells, undifferentiated cells with the power to become any tissue in our bodies. Craig A. Kohn describes the role of these incredible, transforming cells and how scientists are harnessing their medical potential.

Lesson by Craig A. Kohn, animation by Qa’ed Mai.

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