Stem cells can help us ‘build a human heart in a dish’ — but what are they, really?
By Bianca Nogrady- ABC Science
Stem cell transplants smell like creamed corn, apparently.
Petras learned this as he was undergoing treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
He’d already received chemotherapy to kill the cancerous cells coursing through his lymphatic system, but the disease had bounced back.
The best option to save his life was to carpet-bomb his immune system — killing the cancer-ridden cells alongside the healthy ones — then reboot it with a transplant of healthy bone marrow stem cells harvested before the treatment.
The approach is a modern take on the oldest form of stem cell therapy, namely bone marrow transplants, the first of which was performed nearly half a century ago.
Since then, stem cell scientists have been working to understand just what stem cells are, how to control them, and — most importantly — what can be done with them.
At the recent International Society for Stem Cell Research conference in Melbourne, stem cells showed they are ready for prime time.
“I’m really pleased to see over the 16 years that this society has existed, that we’ve moved from a fundamental fascination with what a stem cell is, and what it can do, to clinical trials, which is an amazing outcome in a pretty short period of time.”
Where stem cells come from
Stem cells are the cells from which every other cell in the body originates.
They are the progenitors of every cell type including heart muscle cells, neurons, bone marrow cells, skin cells — even the light-sensitive cells at the back of your eye……
Read more: http://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2018-09-22/stem-cells-what-are-they-and-how-can-they-help-us/10161222
Source: ABC Science