What Are Stem Cell Lines Used for in the Study of Genetic Disorders?
Genetic research has come a long way in the past 30-40 years, and a large part of that progress has been attributed to the use of mouse and human-derived embryonic stem cell lines. Stem cells have revolutionized several fields of study and research in medicine, and are currently doing so in some of the most complex areas of genetic research. Working with stem cell lines is an important prerequisite when it comes to understanding and implementing the processes required for successful gene therapy and the possible treatment of a number of genetic disorders.
Gene Therapy and Genetically Modified Stem Cell Lines
In many ways, gene therapy is a much more natural and elegant way to treat disease than the “old” chemical-based approach. By directing the patient’s cells to repair damage and treat ailments themselves, this type of therapy has already shown remarkable promise, despite the fact that it’s still in its developmental stages. Stem cell lines have already been used successfully in genetic therapy, but researchers were only able to use non-embryonic human stem cells, although trials with embryonic stem cells are also being considered. The most basic approach is to use living stem cells derived from a patient’s body, and reintroduce them along with a therapeutic transgene containing the necessary instructions for a specific set of cells or an area of the body to repair itself.
The Various Techniques for Obtaining Stem Cells
Since researchers aren’t able to use just any type of stem cell line to approach every area of genetic research – whether due to ethical concerns or because of the limitation of their knowledge and technology – a variety of methods have been developed to successfully derive stem cells from blastocysts or living, fully grown subjects. While some of them are used only for obtaining mouse stem cells, others are also used in human trials. Depending on the targeted area of the body and the types of stem cells that have to be harvested, the main techniques that are utilized can include IVF-based practices, somatic cell nuclear transfer, iPS (induced pluripotent stem cell) and bone marrow transplants.
The Use of Stem Cell Lines in Genetic Research
Genetic research has to do with everything from the study of genetic abnormalities, diseases and their counterpart treatments, to the understanding of genetic mutations and their role in generational development in humans as well as other species. Stem cell lines are used in many areas of genetic research, as pointed out by recent studies regarding the establishment of human ES cells and their delimitation from various other types of embryonic materials, including the cell masses of entire blastocysts and the morula. ESCs are commonly derived from mouse subjects with genetic mutations and disorders in the hopes of understanding their formation and researching viable countermeasures.
Stem Cell Lines and Genetic Disorders
The development of new stem cell lines for the purpose of curing genetic disorders is a significant part of the process in genetic therapy. Researchers are currently studying human pluripotent stem cell lines that carry specific mutations found in hereditary diseases such as cancer, Lou Gehrig’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and juvenile diabetes, as well as various mild or severe allergic disorders. The goal of these studies is to find out how certain genetic mutations might lead to cells failing to function and becoming affected with any of the diseases mentioned above.