Stem Cells From Skin Cells
The topic of stem cells is an area that has received a lot of press and media attention during the past few years. Most people do not understand the subject very well and can become confused at all of the developments as they can seem to occur very quickly. Researchers are continually looking for new ways to prevent or treat illness and disease, and gaining stem cells from skin cells is no different.
How Are The Skin Cells Turned Into Stem Cells?
Until quite recently, stem cells could only be gained by obtaining cells from a developing embryo, meaning that the embryo was made useless after this material was acquired. Scientists have now found a way of developing an embryonic stem cell from the persons own skin cells. Using embryos created in laboratories and deemed legal, the scientist can now transfer the required structures into a person’s skin cell which will then enable the skin cell to develop into an embryo itself. This will mean an end of destroying embryos derived from fertilised eggs, a topic that has caused huge arguments and debates among religious groups.
What Does This Mean?
As the skin cells develops into an embryo, the DNA inside will be the same as the person whose skin cell has been used. This embryo can then be influenced into becoming almost any type of tissue. When this has been determined and grown, the tissue can then be transplanted or grafted to the skin donor, allowing them to have a better prognosis with fewer complications than ever before. At the present time, tissue transplant has to be obtained from a donor person. This often means using organs removed from donor patients who are kept ‘alive’ using life-support machines. These donated organs are at risk of being rejected by the patient or of causing infections or other complications. If this process is perfected, the person will be able to receive an organ made up of their own tissues, which unless contaminated, will stand a far less risk of being rejected. One of the debates surrounding stem cells is the argument of destroying embryonic cells. If this process continues to show positive results, it could mean an end to this argument and allow stem cell research and developments to continue.
As this is a fairly new concept, research is still in the process of being analysed, discussed and planned. The process will need to be perfected before it becomes an accepted treatment option. Scientists will need to refine the methods of removing unneeded genetic data from the embryo without causing it any harm or putting the required information at risk. As research continues, scientists are also becoming more understanding of the development of cells, which will enable to better understand disease processes and effects.
Stem cell research has carried a veil of mystery and a high level of topical, ethical and religious debate since it was first investigated. These new developments may mean that these issues are no longer relevant and that many diseases and illnesses can be overcome if experiments continue to produce such promising results.