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Stem Cells and the Future of Regenerative Medicine

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Recent scientific breakthroughs, celebrity patient advocates, and conflicting religious beliefs have come together to bring the state of stem cell research-specifically embryonic stem cell research-into the political crosshairs. President Bush's watershed policy statement allows federal funding for embryonic stem cell research but only on a limited number of stem cell line Recent scientific breakthroughs, celebrity patient advocates, and conflicting religious beliefs have come together to bring the state of stem cell research-specifically embryonic stem cell research-into the political crosshairs. President Bush's watershed policy statement allows federal funding for embryonic stem cell research but only on a limited number of stem cell lines. Millions of Americans could be affected by the continuing political debate among policymakers and the public. Stem Cells and the Future of Regenerative Medicine provides a deeper exploration of the biological, ethical, and funding questions prompted by the therapeutic potential of undifferentiated human cells. In terms accessible to lay readers, the book summarizes what we know about adult and embryonic stem cells and discusses how to go about the transition from mouse studies to research that has therapeutic implications for people. Perhaps most important, Stem Cells and the Future of Regenerative Medicine also provides an overview of the moral and ethical problems that arise from the use of embryonic stem cells. This timely book compares the impact of public and private research funding and discusses approaches to appropriate research oversight. Based on the insights of leading scientists, ethicists, and other authorities, the book offers authoritative recommendations regarding the use of existing stem cell lines versus new lines in research, the important role of the federal government in this field of research, and other fundamental issues.


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Recent scientific breakthroughs, celebrity patient advocates, and conflicting religious beliefs have come together to bring the state of stem cell research-specifically embryonic stem cell research-into the political crosshairs. President Bush's watershed policy statement allows federal funding for embryonic stem cell research but only on a limited number of stem cell line Recent scientific breakthroughs, celebrity patient advocates, and conflicting religious beliefs have come together to bring the state of stem cell research-specifically embryonic stem cell research-into the political crosshairs. President Bush's watershed policy statement allows federal funding for embryonic stem cell research but only on a limited number of stem cell lines. Millions of Americans could be affected by the continuing political debate among policymakers and the public. Stem Cells and the Future of Regenerative Medicine provides a deeper exploration of the biological, ethical, and funding questions prompted by the therapeutic potential of undifferentiated human cells. In terms accessible to lay readers, the book summarizes what we know about adult and embryonic stem cells and discusses how to go about the transition from mouse studies to research that has therapeutic implications for people. Perhaps most important, Stem Cells and the Future of Regenerative Medicine also provides an overview of the moral and ethical problems that arise from the use of embryonic stem cells. This timely book compares the impact of public and private research funding and discusses approaches to appropriate research oversight. Based on the insights of leading scientists, ethicists, and other authorities, the book offers authoritative recommendations regarding the use of existing stem cell lines versus new lines in research, the important role of the federal government in this field of research, and other fundamental issues.

20 review for Stem Cells and the Future of Regenerative Medicine

  1. 5 out of 5

    Marwa Assem Salama

    As a mythical potion, stem cells can replace your damaged, lost or diseased organs with a new intact one; an eternal promise of health for all human beings. "You can say that every one of us carries his own spare parts reservoir", the eminent professor said about it in a zealous tone, while he was trying to convince me to work on Stem Cells in my upcoming PhD thesis. He doesn't know that he left me thinking of nothing but his recent anti-human rights political opinion. Nowadays, it's normal to e As a mythical potion, stem cells can replace your damaged, lost or diseased organs with a new intact one; an eternal promise of health for all human beings. "You can say that every one of us carries his own spare parts reservoir", the eminent professor said about it in a zealous tone, while he was trying to convince me to work on Stem Cells in my upcoming PhD thesis. He doesn't know that he left me thinking of nothing but his recent anti-human rights political opinion. Nowadays, it's normal to encourage saving a life of one organ while you are, with the same enthusiasm, supporting the mass killing of a thousand men. It seems like the contradiction of the human mind is beyond my understanding and always capable to astonish me. But what I fully understand and believe right now is that the history has already proved that injustice, dictatorship and war killed far more people than whole diseases did. Comrades! We are fighting the wrong enemy. Regarding this well done report, you will see that the excitement and controversy surrounding stem cells are what motivated the research committee to sponsor a workshop to assess the therapeutic values of stem cells. The committee said: "Stem cell research has the potential to affect the lives of millions of people in the United States and around the world. This research is now regularly front page news because of the controversy surrounding the derivation of stem cells from human embryos. Realizing the promise of stem cells for yielding new medical therapies will require us to grapple with more than just scientific uncertainties. The stem cell debate has led scientists and non-scientists alike to contemplate profound issues, such as who we are and what makes us human beings. The expertise represented on the committee that made this report included many fields of sciences such as: Molecular biology, immunology, cell biology, cardiology, hematology, neurosciences, developmental biology, infectious disease, cancer, and bioethics. All of which are integrally related to stem cell research and its potential for developing tissue replacement therapies that will restore lost function in damaged organs. But that will not prevent you from understanding this report, since they wrote it in a clear, simple language that suits even the non-specialized reader. Moreover, you will find a great summary contains a few short paragraphs which briefly define stem cell and its most important terminology: "Stem cells are unspecialized cells that can self-renew indefinitely and that can also differentiate into more mature cells with specialized functions. In humans, stem cells have been identified in the inner cell mass of the early embryo, in some tissues of the fetus, the umbilical cord and placenta, and in several adult organs. In some adult organs, stem cells can give rise to more than one specialized cell type within that organ (for example, neural stem cells give rise to three cell types found in the brain-neurons, glial cells, and Astrocytes). Stem cells that are able to differentiate into cell types beyond those of the tissues in which they normally reside are said to exhibit plasticity. When a stem cell is found to give rise to multiple tissue types associated with different organs, the stem cell is referred to as multipotent." Also, you will notice how this report was concerned about clarifying the main differences between Adult stem cells and Embryonic ones. The following parts are an example of this comparison: "Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) are derived from an early-stage embryo. Fertilization of an ovum by a sperm results in a zygote, the earliest embryonic stage. The zygote begins to divide about 30 hours after fertilization and by the third-to-fourth day, the embryo is a compact ball of 12 or more cells known as the morula. Five-to-six days after fertilization, and after several more cycles of cell division, the morula cells begin to specialize, forming a hollow sphere of cells, called a blastocyst, which is about 150 microns in diameter (one-seventh of a millimeter). The outer layer of the blasotocyst is called the trophoblast and the cluster of cells inside the sphere is called the inner cell mass. At this stage, there are about 70 trophoblast cells and about 30 cells in the inner cell mass. The cells of the inner cell mass are multipotent stem cells that give rise to all cell types of the major tissue layers (ectoderm, mesoderm, and endoderm) of the embryo. In the last 3 years, it has become possible to remove these stem cells from the blastocyst and maintain them in an undifferentiated state in cell culture lines in the laboratory. To be useful for producing medical therapies, cultured ESCs will need to be differentiated into appropriate tissues for transplantation into patients. Researchers are just beginning to learn how to achieve this differentiation." " Adult stem cells are undifferentiated cells that occur in a differentiated tissue, such as bone marrow or the brain, in the adult body. They can renew themselves in the body, making identical copies of themselves for the lifetime of the organism, or become specialized to yield the cell types of the tissue of origin. Sources of adult stem cells include bone marrow, blood, the eye, brain, skeletal muscle, dental pulp, liver, skin, the lining of the gastrointestinal tract, and pancreas. Studies suggest that at least some adult stem cells are multipotent. For example, it has been reported that stem cells from the bone marrow, a mesodermal tissue, can give rise to the three major types of brain cells, which are ectodermal derivatives, and that stem cells from the brain can differentiate into blood cells and muscle tissue, but these findings require verification. It is not clear whether investigators are seeing adult stem cells that truly have plasticity or whether some tissues contain several types of stem cells that each give rise to only a few derivative types. Adult stem cells are rare, difficult to identify and purify, and, when grown in culture, are difficult to maintain in the undifferentiated state. It is because of those limitations that even stem cells from bone marrow, the type most studied, are not available in sufficient numbers to support many potential applications of regenerative medicine. Finding ways to culture adult stems cells outside the body is a high priority of stem cell research." And from all types of stem cells, you can consider the Hematopoietic ones as their Godfather: “The hope that many diseases can someday be treated with stem cell therapy is inspired by the historical success of bone marrow transplants in increasing the survival of patients with leukemia and other cancers, inherited blood disorders, and diseases of the immune system. Nearly 40 years ago, the cell type responsible for those successes was identified as the hematopoietic stem cell. The ability of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) to self-renew continuously in the marrow and to differentiate into the full complement of cell types found in blood qualifies them as the premier adult stem cells. HSCs are among the few stem cells to be isolated in adult humans. They reside in the bone marrow and under some conditions, migrate to other tissues through the blood. HSCs are also normally found in the fetal liver and spleen and in the umbilical cord and placenta blood." As they talked about the great benefits which came out from stem cell therapy, they also explained thoroughly most of the drawbacks the researchers have found in their way to get these benefits. I collected the following separate parts as an example of some of these problems: "The full potential of bone marrow transplantation to restore a healthy blood system in every needy patient is currently limited by the unavailability of HSCs in the quantity and purity that are crucial for successful transplantation. Because of their relative rarity (one in every 10,000 bone marrow cells) and the difficulty of separating them from other components of the blood, so-called bone marrow stem cell transplants are generally impure. The significance of such impurity is great. All cells of the body express on their surface a set of molecules called histocompatibility (i.e. Tissue compatibility) antigens. If a patient receives a transplant of HSC cells from a donor that has histocompatibility antigens different from his own, the patient’s body will recognize and react to the cells as foreign. To increase the likelihood that histocompatibility antigens will match, it is preferred that donors are a related sibling of the transplant recipient. Even if their histocompatibility antigens do match, however, HSC transplants can be contaminated by T cells from the donor’s immune system." "Another major barrier to progress in HSC research and transplantation therapy is that it has not been possible to culture HSCs in vitro (outside the body), although recent studies of mouse HSCs grown in combination with components of the bone marrow have offered some preliminary promise. This stubborn and not insignificant obstacle is faced by researchers with all types of adult stem cells. If it were possible to expand the numbers of stem cells by growing them in culture or to stimulate their expansion in vivo (in the living body), the prospects for patients in need of stem cell transplants would be significantly improved. However, as Ernest Beutler pointed out at the workshop, finding a way to get HSCs to proliferate is not enough. In the long run, it is necessary to understand not only what activates HSCs to self-renew, but also what controls their decisions to differentiate into the various components of the blood and prevents them from developing into leukemic cells." "In other situations, the use of adult stem cells would be inappropriate--for example, the isolation and autologous transplantation of a person’s stem cells suffering from a genetic disorder--in that case, the stem cells would carry the same incorrect genetic information. Transplantation of stem cells from a donor into another person will be subject to the problems of immune rejection, and this could be a substantial obstacle in time-critical situations, for example, spinal cord trauma or stroke, because characterizing the patient’s tissues and finding a match in a short period of time will be difficult." "A major weakness of stem cell research asserted by Grompe is that most studies inadequately demonstrate that stem cells have produced a functionally useful cell in the organ. Most studies showing the plasticity of stem cells rely on the detection of proteins in the newly generated tissues that are commonly associated with a particular type of differentiated cell. But there is no consensus in the scientific community that the detection of a particular protein constitutes sufficient evidence that the cells and tissues formed are in fact, fully functional and normal. Olle Lindvall, who works with Parkinson’s disease patients, noted that in some experiments in which dopaminergic neurons generated in culture were grafted into the brain of an animal, it was not at all clear that the new neurons were fully functional. The relationship between stem cell type and environmental cues makes problematic the assumption that stem cells cultured in vitro can be expected to perform with predictable results when transplanted in vivo. It might be possible someday to provide cues to reprogram one cell type into another and even to culture these cells in vitro, but evidence of the normal physiological and restorative function of adult stem cells is very limited today." "Another limitation relevant to differentiate into their mature progeny. One can envision two therapeutic approaches to stem cells. In the first, the stem cells themselves are implanted in a diseased or injured organ in the hope that they will give rise to the mature cells needed by that organ. In the second, the stem cells are stimulated to differentiate into the needed mature tissue outside the body, and that tissue is implanted in the organ. That adult stem cells are difficult to isolate, purify, and culture causes problems for either approach, although even the ability to culture stem cells for a limited time, including in the presence of other cells, could have therapeutic potential. An example is the use of autologous skin grafts for burn patients, in which healthy skin (which contains skin stem cells) is removed from the patient, cultured briefly outside the body, and grafted onto the patient’s injured tissue. The grafts are not able to regenerate hair follicles and sweat glands, but are otherwise able to function normally. However, with a few exceptions, the appropriate culture conditions to sustain most adult stem cells indefinitely have yet to be found. " And somehow I felt violated when I knew very late the great therapeutic value of umbilical cord and placenta blood, since I have delivered my daughter in a well-known hospital with a good reputation. However, no one there talked to me about using my placenta and umbilical cord for scientific or therapeutic purposes. The usage that I am pretty sure that it has already done without bothering themselves to take a legal consent from a helpless mother like me: "There is an evidence that transplants derived from umbilical cord blood are less likely to provoke graft versus host disease, possibly because the cells in cord blood are immature and less reactive immunologically. The quantity of HSCs present in cord blood and its attached placenta is small and transplants from cord blood take longer to graft, but for children, whose smaller bodies require fewer HSCs, cord blood transplants are valuable, especially when there is no related sibling to donate HSCs. Banks of frozen umbilical cord and placenta blood (drawn out of the umbilical vein of the cord) are an important source of HSCs because the histocompatibility markers on the cells in these tissues can be identified and catalogued in advance of the need for a transplant." In hideous days like these, along with depression, I used to think about the usefulness of everything I do. Lately in my dreams, I saw myself repeatedly in random scenes at my high school and my little old room as if I am suffering from extreme nostalgia for everything I was good at; drawing, sewing and writing. When I was a teenager, I separated from my mother for 5 years long or so. And in order to overcome this distance, I wrote her a daily, long, eloquent letter. In my last visit, I found them all accidently in one of her drawers, organized in order and wrapped up elegantly in a beautiful folder. When my sister delivered her first son, I gave her a handmade embroidered hooked rug. On the same visit, I saw the rug hanged on a well-apparent wall in her house. But the charcoal portrait I once drew it for my brother was fading away, exactly like my ability right now to do any of these truly useful things again. Alas! On another note: http://qz.com/603356/why-scientific-s...

  2. 5 out of 5

    Thao Kim

  3. 5 out of 5

    RVCC Library

    A very quick read if you’re interested in stem cell research. The book feels a bit dated as it was written in 2002, however the information it provides on embryonic and adult stem cells are still valid as well research potentials in regenerative medicines that the book promotes. The book is broken down 70/30 percent science and ethics. The science sections are well researched and informed and give the reader a good lesson on various stem cells. The ethics sections go over various reasons why ste A very quick read if you’re interested in stem cell research. The book feels a bit dated as it was written in 2002, however the information it provides on embryonic and adult stem cells are still valid as well research potentials in regenerative medicines that the book promotes. The book is broken down 70/30 percent science and ethics. The science sections are well researched and informed and give the reader a good lesson on various stem cells. The ethics sections go over various reasons why stem cells caused such a controversy back then. Some issues are still present today. The finale of the book makes recommendations based on the scientific data the council has amass so far. It encourages readers to pursue there on research in this field and provides council on ethical issues. Stem Cells and the future of regenerative medicine is a very short but enjoyable read. It will only take a few hours to complete and I recommend it to anyone who is interested in regenerative medicine. - written by RVCC student David L.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jovany Agathe

  6. 4 out of 5

    Cambria

  7. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Obert

  8. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

  9. 5 out of 5

    Dilene

  10. 4 out of 5

    Zvr

  11. 4 out of 5

    Siamak Gholamalipour

  12. 5 out of 5

    Abdul lah m

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ana Panić

  14. 4 out of 5

    Chew Hou Ming

  15. 4 out of 5

    Vigneswara Prabhu

  16. 4 out of 5

    Khawla AR

  17. 4 out of 5

    Aminat

  18. 5 out of 5

    Gabby Mckown

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sierra Ball

  20. 5 out of 5

    Helena

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