What Are the Best Means of Growing a Stem Cell Line?
The research work revolving around stem cell lines is extremely important, seeing how it helps scientists understand more each day about how stem cells work and how they can be used to help the body repair itself at a cellular level. Because of this fact, it is extremely important to find the most ideal ways to grow stem cell lines in a laboratory. By doing so, researchers are able to perfect the process and learn how to use stem cells as a viable medical tool that could even be used to cure ailments and diseases that are considered incurable today.
Why Is Stem Cell Research Important?
While there is still much work to be done before the mechanisms behind the amazing growth and multi-purpose properties of stem cells can fully be understood, this line of research holds remarkable potential. Stem cell lines could one day be utilized to infiltrate affected tissues and be programmed to take the shape of the correct cells required to repair tissue damage and functions at a cellular level. Also, because of their remarkable growth rate and the fact that it doesn’t lead to their degeneration, some scientists believe that stem cell line research could hold the secret to beating old age and even death itself.
The Culture of Embryonic Cell Lines
Embryonic stem cell cultures are considered the easiest to obtain in an in vitro setting. An embryonic stem cell line can be derived from the inner cell mass belonging to a blastocyst – which is basically a term representing one of the earliest mammalian developmental stages, which later gives rise to the embryonic stage. In order to create stem cell lines from a blastocyst, a portion of the inner cell mass is removed, and placed on a layer of supportive cells, where they are able to grow. Embryonic cell lines are typically cultured using means that retain their pluripotent properties, so they can later be differentiated into specialized cell types.
Successfully Growing Adult Stem Cells
Adult stem cell lines are somewhat more limited than embryonic stem cell lines, but they can still be used for a variety of medical and genetic research purposes. These stem cells are typically derived from juvenile or adult tissues, and are known to be multipotent (as opposed to the pluripotent qualities of embryonic stem cells). This means they are able to generate only a specific number of cell types. Mesenchymal stem cells derived from adipose tissue, umbilical cord blood and amniotic fluid, and are the only types of adult cells that can be grown and used for practical applications with significant success over a longer period of time.
Ethical Issues Regarding Stem Cells
Although the issue of experimenting with animals is also a topic that many people consider an ethical dilemma, the main ethical problems associated with the culture of stem cell lines has to do with the harvesting of human embryonic cells. Although many laboratories are currently using only stem cells from embryos that were left over from in vitro fertilization, the laws regarding the destruction of early blastocysts are still not clear, and some argue that they should be given significant moral consideration.