Stem cells are undifferentiated cells with a high degree of self-renewal, that can differentiate into many different specialized cell types. Stem cells can be manipulated to provide treatment for illness and disease.
Manipulating Stem Cells for Treatments
Stem cells (SCs) have been studied in great detail regarding regenerative medicine, and in the last few decades, there have been major achievements in the manipulation of SCs. Manipulation of certain types of SCs allows for the research into and treatment of disease. The types of SC used to do this are:
- Embryonic stem cells (ESCs)
- Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs)
- Neuronal stem cells (NSCs)
- Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs)
Somatic cells such as fibroblasts can be reprogrammed into iPSCs by employing genetic modifications or chemical treatments. This was first achieved by Yamanaka using 4 genes involved in the maintenance of ECS pluripotency (Oct4, Sox2, c-Myc, and Klf4). The iPSCs can then be directed towards the desired cell type.
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