Key Discoveries in Stem Cell Research - Stem Cell Centers, Regenerative Stem Cell Therapy
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Stem Cells and Discoveries

Stem Cells and Discoveries

Stem cells were first discovered in 1961. Since then, each year brings new and exciting discoveries in stem cell research. Stem cells are the body’s neutral cells that play a vital role in your body’s healing and regeneration. Scientists have been able to take stem cells and use them in both animals and humans to help problems with chronic pain and to help the body regenerate quicker. The ultimate goal is for humans to be able to grow organs from scratch. See what discoveries have led us in that direction so far!

First Discovery of Stem Cells

Stem cells have been used by surgeons and doctors for more than 20 years. However, their discovery did not come about until 1963, when scientists James Edgar Till and Ernest McCulloch discovered hematopoietic stem cells in mouse bone marrow. Studying cells in mice, they found that some cells were self-renewing. They called those self-renewing cells “stem cells”, and stem cell research and therapies have been implemented since that time.

Stem cells are cells that every person is born with. They are abundant at birth and in the materials (like placenta, umbilical cord, etc.) that help make a fetus. A person is only born with so many stem cells, which lie latent in the body until injuries happen, especially wounds. Blood platelets will rush to the site of a person’s injury to clot and seal the wound. Stem cells will follow those blood platelets to the injury site, and will then transform into the type of cell the body needs to repair itself. That is how your skin, muscle, tissues, tendons, and more can grow back in areas where they have been damaged or lost.

Stem Cells Revolutionized Medicine

The National Institute of Health reports that scientists first derived embryonic stem cells from early mouse embryos in 1981. Scientists found that embryonic stem cells were the most potent form of cells that could make themselves into any other type of cell. In stem cell research and lab trials, they found that taking stem cells from one source and using it for an injured area of the body, can actually help the body to repair itself.

Stem cell research showed that there are actually various types of stem cells that include:

  • Adult (or Tissue Specific) Stem Cells: The stem cells a person is born with that lie latent in the body throughout life. These are used successfully for therapy in organs from which they are derived.
  • Amniotic Stem Cells: Stem cells found in amniotic fluid and the amniotic sac. These can differentiate into only certain types of cells.
  • Cord-Blood Stem Cells: Cells derived from umbilical cords that can differentiate into certain types of cells. These are used for bone-marrow transplants.
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPS Cells): These are engineered in laboratories from various cell types (like skin cells); similar to embryonic stem cells.
  • Nuclear Transfer (NT)-ES Cells: Stem cells created by scientists taking DNA from a somatic cell and using it to replace the genetic material in an egg cell.
  • Embryonic Stem Cells: Derived from embryos with limitless potential for body regeneration. However, controversy surrounding these means they are only used in certain instances.

Key Discoveries in Stem Cell Research

First, scientists had to discover that stem cells existed. Stem cell research took off after that to discover the various types of stem cells and how they can be used and how the cells work. All over the world, stem cell research is being done with these types of cells to see how genes can be manipulated to stop diseases and mutations in the body. The potential and ultimate goal of stem cells is that they can be used to help people get rid of diseases and chronic conditions that plague the human body.

Some discoveries that have been made include:

  • Sir John Gordon, who showed that cells can be manipulated. He did stem cell research by injecting the nucleus of differentiated frog cells into egg cells. This led to the concept of reproductive cloning, which is how Dolly the Sheep (a clone) came to be.
  • The successful culture of ES cell using mouse blastocysts in 1981 by Martin Evans. These cells were used to delete or modify genes in mice to see how diseases worked and how to potentially get rid of them.
  • Shortly after, James Thomson was able to isolate ES cells from human blastocysts. This was to accelerate stem cell research into testing new therapeutics and transplantation methods for people with diseases.
  • Decades later, Shinya Yamanaka and a team of stem cell researchers were able to alter the expression of genes by converting skin cells into pluripotent stem cells. This showed that one cell can be directly changed into another type of cell with a bit of manipulation.
  • In 1998, scientists derived stem cells from human embryos and grew them in labs. This led to the start of in vitro fertilization. However, the NIH set guidelines for stem cell research and implementation for embryonic cells in 2000.

Potential for the Future

Stem cell discovery and stem cell research has made amazing leaps and bound in medicine. For example, Canada has helped cure rare conditions such as scleroderma and multiple sclerosis in patients. In the U.S. and Europe, stem cells help joint conditions and tissue regeneration. Stem cells can change into any type of tissue. Because of this, we use them in our office to help people with arthritis, other joint conditions, degenerative conditions and injury healing.

This therapy simply consists of an anti-inflammatory joint injection, where stem cells go to work to help repair the area of damage while decreasing inflammation. The healthcare community as a whole benefits from tissue regeneration outcomes in specialties such as surgery, orthopedics, pain management, burn care, eye and dental care. If you suffer from a chronic condition, joint problem, or injury, see what stem cell research and therapy can do for you. Call Stem Cell Centers today at (877) 808-0016 for your free consultation!