L.O To learn what stem cells are and how they can be used.
Stem cells are cells that can turn into cells. The scientific term for this is undifferentiated. Differentiated cells have already become specialized and will now carry out a certain job within the body.
In animals the ability to stay undifferentiated is lost at an early stage therefore it is very difficult to gain stem cells as they specialize very early in the process.
The majority of stem cells are found in embryos, thy are of much use in the medical context as they can be used to cure many diseases and organ defects as the stem cells have the possibility to form any other cell.
Adults also have stem cells, they are only found in the bone marrow, however they are not as useful as the stem cells found in the embryos as they do not have the ability to form any cell on certain ones.
Stem cell research
As we have started stem cells can be used to cure many diseases, this is due to its ability to form other cells in the human body. These cells that may have been affected or destroyed by diseases.
Scientists can extracts stem cells from embryos and then use them in replacing faulty cells in those with diseases such as sickle cell anemia or diabetes.
There is a lot of debate around the use of stem cell research; many people feel embryos should not be used for research as each one is human life.
Other believe that helping and curing people is the most important thing, and as embryos cannot consent either way, and would be discarded anyway, it is okay to use them as part of the research
Due to this debate in many countries stem cell research is banned, in the UK it is allowed to a certain extent