The daughter cells become specialized cells with a more specific function, such as blood cells and brain cells. Stem cells come from two main sources:
Embryos (embryonic stem cells).
Adult tissue (adult stem cells).
Both types of cells are categorized by their potential to differentiate into different cell types, such as, skin cells, muscle cells or bone cells.
Embryonic stem cells: These stem cells come from embryos that are about 3 to 5 days of age. At this stage, an embryo is referred to as a blastocyst and has an estimate of 150 cells. The blastocysts are pluripotent stem cells. Pluripotent means that the cells can divide into more stem cells or can become another type of cell in the body.
Adult stem cells: These stem cells are found mostly in the bone marrow. Adult stem cells have a limited ability to give growth to various cells of the body. Adult tissues cannot divide themselves until they are triggered by disease or tissue injury.
Stem cells are able to treat a wide range of different diseases, whether a heart disease or an injury. In a stem-cell transplant, stem cells are able to replace tissue that is a damaged by disease or injury.
Leukaemia is a cancer of the blood or bone marrow. The bone marrow creates blood cells, so leukaemia can happen when there is a problem with the creation of blood cells. The white blood cells in the body are affected when these is a problem in the production of blood cells. Leukaemia occurs when the DNA of blood cells becomes damaged. When this happens, blood cells grow and divide endlessly, and then there are just too many blood cells and this becomes a problem. The healthy blood cells all die out and are then replaced by the new cells which are the bad cells. Whilst the healthy blood cells are dying out, the abnormal blood cells do not die, they actually keep increasing and they then occupy the whole space, leaving no space for the healthy cells. So now the blood is occupied by the abnormal blood cells.
The abnormal cells are now referred to as the cancer cells. So, as more cancer cells are created, they stop the growth of the healthy white blood cells, at this stage the white blood cells can no longer function at all because the blood is filled with the abnormal cells.
According to Cancer Treatment Centres of America, a stem cell transplant can be effective to restore a healthy bone marrow in patients with leukaemia. Stem cells help stimulate new bone marrow growth, restore the immune system and also help with the development of new healthy cells.
Before a stem cell transplant for a patient suffering from leukaemia, the patient will have to go through a treatment to destroy as many leukaemia cells as possible (destroy as many cancer cells as possible). Once the treatment is over, the patient is ready to receive a stem cell transplant. The patient will receive the stem cells in a process much like getting a blood transfusion. After the stem cells enter the bloodstream, they travel to the bone marrow and start to generate new blood cells (healthy cells).
Stem cells transplants can cure a number of diseases. These diseases include Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer disease, cancer, spinal cord injuries and diabetes.One advantage of the usage of adult stem cell to treat disease is that a patient’s own cells can be used to treat a patient. Embryonic stem cells can develop into any cell types of the body.
People experiment on embryonic stem cells; this involves the destruction of blastocysts formed from the lab-fertilized human eggs. For those people who believe that life begins at conception, the blastocyst is a human life and it is bad to destroy it.Stem cell transplant for heart disease can make the coronary arteries narrower. This can lead to other problems.