Stem cell therapy is all the buzz these days, but who discovered their potential in the first place? Canada takes pride in the work of their scientists Drs. James Till and Ernset McCulloch, who did pioneering studies in hematopoietic stem cell research. Who else has a name in the game?
Much controversy exists around the question of “who discovered stem cells” but the majority agree with the following historical timeline regards to some of the biggest discoveries with stem cells and stem cell therapy:
“Even though it is hard to pinpoint exactly when or by whom what we now call “stem cells” were first discovered, the consensus is that the first scientists to rigorously define the key properties of a stem cell were Ernest McCulloch and James Till. In their pioneering work in mice in the 1960s, they discovered the blood-forming stem cell, the hematopoietic stem cell (HSC),” writes Harvard University.
Shows that cells are not “locked” in their differentiation state and are able to revert back to a more primitive state and develop into something else. This concept went against popular opinion of the time, but has since been proved true in many labs.
“In 2007, Professor Sir Martin Evans from the School of Biosciences was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine for a series of ground-breaking discoveries concerning embryonic stem cells and DNA recombination in mammals,” writes Cardiff University.
“Sir Martin was the first scientist to identify embryonic stem cells, which can be adapted for a wide variety of medical purposes. His discoveries are now being applied in virtually all areas of biomedicine – from basic research to the development of new therapies.”
Martin Evans and Matt Kauffman identified and isolate the first culture ES cells with mouse blastocysts in 1981. This triggered the creation of “murine genetic models,” mice that have had one or several of their genes deleted/modified to study their function in disease,” writes Harvard University.
Ian Wilmut and his colleagues at the Roslin Institute, Edinburgh reveal Dolly the sheep–the first artificial animal clone. This achievement spurs much debate and intrigue as scientists are convinced other hybrids could be created. Scientists decide to attempt fusing human embryonic stem cells with adult cells from a person to create genetically-matched tissues and organs, reports New Scientist.
Following the Dolly the Sheep discovery, James Thomson of the University of Wisconsin and John Gearhart of Johns Hopkins University, respectively, isolate human embryonic stem cells and grow them in the lab. The two teams cultured human embryonic stem cells, which in the hopes of growing tissues (or even organs) for transplants, reported the New Scientist.
“Shinya Yamanaka and colleagues shocked the world when they were able to convert skin cells called fibroblasts into pluripotent stem cells by altering the expression of just four genes. This represented the birth of induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells.
The enormous importance of these findings is hard to overstate, and is perhaps best illustrated by the fact that, merely six years later, Gurdon and Yamanaka shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2012,” writes Harvard University.
“The first proof-of-principle study showing that iPS cells can potentially be used to correct genetic diseases was carried out in the laboratory of Rudolf Jaenisch. In brief, tail tip cells from mice with a mutation causing sickle cell anemia were harvested and reprogrammed into iPS cells. The mutation was then corrected in these iPS cells, which were then differentiated into blood progenitor cells and transplanted back into the original mice, curing them,” writes Harvard University.
Shoukhrat Mitalipov at the Oregon National Primate Research Center in Beaverton and his colleagues produce human embryonic stem cells from fetal cells using therapeutic cloning – the breakthrough falsely claimed in 2005.
According to the National Institute of Health, “Stem cells, directed to differentiate into specific cell types, offer the possibility of a renewable source of replacement cells and tissues to treat diseases including macular degeneration, spinal cord injury, stroke, burns, heart disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.” The excitement around amniotic stem cells is their potential for treating common diseases like diabetes and heart disease because of their regenerative abilities.
The best way you can learn more about the research and findings of amniotic stem cell therapy is to schedule a free consultation with a medical provider near you. To learn more, and to discover what stem cell therapies you may currently be a candidate for, call Stem Cell Centers today at (877) 808-0016 and see what stem cell therapy can do for you!