Types of Stem Cells
Stem cells are biological cells that have a remarkable potential to develop into many different cell types in the body during early life and growth. It can be found in all multicellular organisms. It can divide (through mitosis) and differentiate into diverse specialized cell types and can self-renew to produce more stem cells. It is generally very early stage cells that have the ability to turn into other specialized types of cells like liver cells, skin cells, nerve cells, etc.
What are the types of stem cells?
Types of stem cells can be described through different terms often depending on where in the body or what stage in development they come from. Here is a list of the type of stem cells:
Adult stem cells or tissue-specific stem cells
- undifferentiated cells found among specialized cells in a tissue or organ after birth
- adult stem cells are tissue-specific, meaning they are found in a given tissue in our bodies and generate the mature cell types within that particular tissue or organ
Fetal stem cells
- taken from the fetus
- most tissues in a fetus contain stem cells that drive the rapid growth and development of the organs
Umbilical cord blood stem cells
- used to treat a range of blood disorders and immune system conditions
- umbilical cord blood contains stem cells similar to those found in bone marrow
- currently used to treat diseases and conditions of the blood or to restore the blood system after treatment for specific cancers
Embryonic stem cells
- derived from very early embryos and can in theory give rise to all cell types in the body
- came from a five to six-day-old embryo; they have the ability to form virtually any type of cell found in the human body
- harvested from the inner cell mass of the blastocyst seven to ten days after fertilization
Stem cells are important for living organisms for many reasons. In some adult tissues, such as bone marrow, muscle, and brain, discrete populations of adult stem cells generate replacements for cells that are lost through normal wear and tear, injury, or disease.