1. What are stem cells?
cells are unspecialized cells i.e. they do not have any specific function. On given
the necessary stimulation they have the ability to undergo mitotic cell division
and differentiate into various cell types. There cell are found in mammals and have
been path breaking in terms of curing disorders. They promise to decrease the dependency
on donor organs and also decrease the risk on organ rejection.
2. How can I get my babies stem cells? How will they help my child?
The umbilical cord blood cells are rich in stem cells. Immediately after the baby
is born, the blood from the cord is extracted using a syringe and cyopreserved.
These can be store for 21 years. Using these stem cells, doctors can regenerate
your child’s organs and cure him of various diseases like leukemia and kidney failure.
Since the organs are developed from their stem cells, you don’t have to rely on
donor organs and your child does not have to face the risk of organ rejection.
3. Will my child be at risk while extracting stem cells from the umbilical cord?
There is absolutely no risk for the mother or the child while extracting the stem
cells. These stem cells also benefit those who are genetically related to the child
as the transplant is more readily accepted within family.
4. Can these stem cells be donated?
Stem cells can be donated and they have a higher success rates in transplants, than
organs taken from live donors.
5. What are embryonic stem cells?
These are the stem cells that are extracted from embryos. The embryos can be acquired
from extra embryos in an IVF treatment. Scientists are also attempting to extract
these embryos from the amniotic fluid. Embryonic stem cells are said to be the most
“malleable” as they can be differentiate into unlimited cell types, unlike fully grown stem cells.
6. What are fully grown stem cells?
These are stem cells that can be extracted from a matured fully grown. Stem cells are
found in the bone marrow, skin and brain. These are not as adaptable as embryonic
stem cells as the stem cells derived from a given part can only be stimulate to
become a particular cell type. E.g. stem cells derived from the skin cells can only
form skin and nerve cells and not liver cells.
7. Have the stem cells successfully treated diseases?
Stem cells have given a new hope to many blood cancer afflicts. Stem cells, on stimulation,
have replaced the bone marrow and helped the body endure higher doses of chemotherapy.
This has helped many get rid of cancer for good. The stem cells have also successfully
treated diabetes and advanced kidney cancer.