AAT Bioquest

Why are stem cells useful?

Posted November 6, 2023


Stem cells are the only cells in the body that are capable of producing different cell types such as blood, muscle, and bone cells. These cells are then able to differentiate into specialized cells which assist in the regeneration and repair of damaged tissues or tissues affected by disease. Adult stem cells multiply by cell division to regenerate damaged tissues. People with diseases such as spinal cord injuries, type 1 diabetes, or with burns may be able to be treated with stem cell therapy. Stem cells are also important because they assist researchers in understanding the mechanism of diseases. Researchers are able to grow and analyze stem cells in different types of tissues and organs to see how they change and how diseases occur. Another reason stem cells are important is because they may help test drugs for their efficacy and safety. Human stem cells would be produced into tissue-specific cells to test the safety of novel drugs. As an example, nerve cells could be produced to test a new drug for nerve diseases. The goal of the test would be to determine if the novel drug had any harmful or beneficial effects on the cells. In 3-5 day old embryos, blastocysts function to produce the entire body of organisms including vital organs like the lung, heart, and skin as well as eggs and other tissues. Blastocysts are part of the embryonic stem cells. Without these stem cells, there would be undeveloped organs and the body would have difficulty functioning.

Additional resources

Stem Cells: What they are and what they do

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