What Is an ES Cell Model and Why Is It Useful?
There has been a lot of talk about ES cell cultures in the past few years. Researchers cannot stress strongly enough the importance of this line of research and what it could mean for the future of medical research and genetic engineering. Despite any past or even current ethical concerns, many scientists support the fact that ES (embryonic stem) cells have great potential for the future of humankind, and their pluripotent qualities are an important reason behind this potential.
Defining ES Cells
Embryonic stem cells are defined as pluripotent cells that are derived from the inner cell mass of young embryos, regardless of their species. While human ES cell research has evolved greatly over the past few years, embryonic stem cells were used for a long time before that, special mouse models and ES cells derived from them having been one of the most significant elements of the experiments that have made modern genetic and stem cell research possible. In the case of human embryos, blastocysts reach a number of about 50 to 150 cells after 4-5 days of development. This is normally the best time to collect cells to start embryonic stem cell lines. This is also the point when ethical issues arise regarding the research mainly because the blastocysts are destroyed in the process of isolating the inner cells.
The Pluripotent Properties of ES Cells
The reason why this type of research is deemed highly important is because embryonic stem cells can generate more than 220 different types of cells that make up the body. As opposed to adult stem cells, ES cells don’t have a limit regarding how they can develop and the role of which cells they can take. Should this unique property of embryonic stem cells be harnessed in vitro, it could lead to the simple artificial development of virtually any type of tissue. As a result, organs or tissues that are lost or damaged as a result of disease or injury could easily be replaced or repaired with the help of specialized stem cell cultures.
Curing Disease and Evaluating the Clinical Use of Embryonic Cells
Imagine being able to cure juvenile diabetes, cancer, blindness, Parkinson’s disease, blood and immune system disorders and virtually any type of disease that is inherited as part of the patient’s genetic heritage. Also wouldn’t it be amazing if we could generate tissue that can eliminate scars and repair injuries in record time? These are only a few of the most strikingly practical applications that embryonic stem cell research could lead to. As stem cell banks and reprogramming methods continue to evolve, there is great hope that such achievements, along with clinical use in toxicology and cell replacement therapies (CRTs) could become available.
The Future Potential of Embryonic Stem Cell Research
Clinical research and genetic experimentation is already underway, as scientists are probing the full set of possibilities of how embryonic stem cells could be useful in the near and far future. There are some who already envision simple, non-invasive treatments that could lead to complete rejuvenation through the extension of telomeres responsible for human aging, and the extension of the human lifespan to perhaps several hundreds of years. The commercialization of stem cell applications is already underway, and the future could even see the appearance of easy to use kits for specific health improvements with the use of embryonic stem cells, or even the rapid growth of entire organs at medical clinics.