Most cells in the body are differentiated cells. These cells can only serve a specific purpose in a particular organ. For example, red blood cells are specifically designed to carry oxygen through the blood.
Stem cells are the foundation for every organ and tissue in your body. There are many different types of stem cells that come from different places in the body or are formed at different times in our lives. These include embryonic stem cells that exist only at the earliest stages of development and various types of tissue-specific or adult stem cells that appear during fetal development and remain in our bodies throughout life.
So what's the advantage of using stem cells from the embryo that have been reprogrammed in this way? The main advantage is that you can derive a greater variety of cell types. Embryonic stem cells, as they are called, have the potential to be any body cell. Adult stem cells on the other hand have partly committed to different cell fates.
Stem cells are self-renewing, unspecialised cells that can give rise to multiple cell types of all tissues of the body. They can be derived from the embryo, foetus and adult. The ability of stem cells to divide but also to differentiate to specialised cell types like nerve and muscle, have made them candidates on which to base therapies for diseases and disorders for which no, or only partially effective, therapies are available.
Zach Hall about stem cell research. Hall is the former head of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke at the NIH, and first president of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the state-funded stem cell research facility. He explains the difference between embryonic and adult stem cells, and why they are not interchangeable.
Jump to navigation. Human embryonic and adult stem cells each have advantages and disadvantages regarding potential use for cell-based regenerative therapies. One major difference between adult and embryonic stem cells is their different abilities in the number and type of differentiated cell types they can become.
Embryonic stem cells ESCs are stem cells derived from the undifferentiated inner mass cells of a human embryo. Embryonic stem cells are pluripotent, meaning they are able to grow i. In other words, they can develop into each of the more than cell types of the adult body as long as they are specified to do so. Embryonic stem cells are distinguished by two distinctive properties: their pluripotency, and their ability to replicate indefinitely.
Research has been ongoing now for years as scientists have tried to determine whether stem cells from adult tissues have the same capabilities and potential as embryonic stem cells. Studies are constantly revealing new information and it is hoped that therapeutic applications will be developed from both sources. The question, however, perhaps remains: which source holds the advantage?
Stem cells and derived products offer great promise for new medical treatments. Learn about stem cell types, current and possible uses, ethical issues, and the state of research and practice. You've heard about stem cells in the news, and perhaps you've wondered if they might help you or a loved one with a serious disease.