Daily News Analysis

Stem Cells

13th July, 2021 Science and Technology

Context

  • Indian stem cell and developmental biologist Prof. Maneesha S Inamdar has been part of the WHO Expert Advisory Committee on Developing Global Standards for Governance and Oversight of Human Genome Editing.

 

About

  • Stem cells are the body's raw materials — cells from which all other cells with specialized functions are generated.
  • Under the right conditions in the body or a laboratory, stem cells divide to form more cells called daughter cells.
  • These daughter cells either become new stem cells (self-renewal) or become specialized cells (differentiation) with a more specific function, such as blood cells, brain cells, heart muscle cells or bone cells.
  • No other cell in the body has the natural ability to generate new cell types.
  • They are found in both embryonic and adult organisms.
  • They serve as a repair system for the body.

 

Embryonic stem cells

·        Embryonic stem cells supply new cells for an embryo as it grows and develops into a baby.

·        These stem cells are said to be pluripotent, which means they can change into any cell in the body.

 

Adult stem cells

·        Adult stem cells supply new cells as an organism grows and to replace cells that get damaged.

·        Adult stem cells are said to be multipotent, which means they can only change into some cells in the body, not any cell, for example:

·        Blood (or 'haematopoietic') stem cells can only replace the various types of cells in the blood.

·        Skin (or 'epithelial') stem cells provide the different types of cells that make up our skin and hair.

 

Why are stem cells useful?

  • Helps us understand the basic biology of how living things work and what happens in different types of cell during disease.
  • Therapy – to replace lost or damaged cells that our bodies can’t replace naturally.
  • Grow new cells in a laboratory to replace damaged organs or tissues
  • Correct parts of organs that don’t work properly
  • Research causes of genetic defects in cells
  • Research how diseases occur or why certain cells develop into cancer cells
  • Test new drugs for safety and effectiveness

 

Issues in Stem Cell Research and Way Ahead

https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1734868