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Stem cells summary

Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) Adult stem cells Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) Therapeutic stem cell cloning
Where from? A blastocyst (a very early embryo) Various tissues in the body including bone marrow, fat cells and umbilical cord blood Made in the lab – in theory from any cell in the body A blastocyst created by SCNT
What can they do? Make all cells required in the body (pluripotent) Make cells required in that tissue (multipotent) Make all cells required in the body (pluripotent) Make all cells required in the body (pluripotent)
Advantages - pluripotent
- relatively easily grown in culture
- already partially specialised, so easier to control differentiation
- can provide patient-specific treatment
- provides cells to act as disease models for research
- can provide patient-specific treatment
- provides cells to act as disease models for research
- pluripotent
- can provide patient-specific treatment
- pluripotent
Disadvantages - hard to control differentiation
- ethical issues
- immune reaction
- hard to grow in culture
- immune reaction if not using patient's own cells
- some ethical issues
- reprogramming requires further research
- immune reaction if not using patient's own cells
- ethical issues
-requires donated eggs
-immune reaction if not using patient's own nucleus
Legal barriers HFEA and HTA licence required if working with human stem cells HTA licence required if working with human stem cells HTA licence required if working with human stem cells. Must inform HSE if altering genetic material. HFEA and HTA licence required if working with human stem cells
Clinical treatments Successful treatments of patients with severe combined immunodeficiency, successful trials treating patients with wet age-related macular degeneration, many other trials in progress including spinal repairs Since the late 1950s through bone marrow transplants! Current uses include heart damage repair, skin and wound healing, retinal treatments, construction of new body structures, tendon and cartilage repairs and a wide range of other trials. Also – combined with gene therapy – successful treatment of metachromatic leukodystrophy Trials in humans include treatments for age-related macular degeneration in the eye, Parkinson’s disease, spinal cord injuries, diabetes and heart attacks Scientists first successfully created human embryonic stem cells via SCNT in 2013