By: Jacob Allen
Stem cells are self replicating cells inside the human body which serve the purpose of an internal repair service. These cells divide basically forever, so long as the person or animal is living. When the cell divides, one cell stays a stem cell, and another could have a more specialized function, such as a muscle or brain cell. For example, in your intestines and bone marrow, the tissue is constantly regrowing and repairing itself from damage. Other organs such as the heart and pancreas do not, unless under very specific conditions.
If research continues as it has, within the next 5-7 yrs we will be able to replicate a fully functioning human heart to be used in transplant. This has already been done with rat hearts, so it is achievable. The amazing capabilities of this product could eventually allow those who had a terminal disease or cancer to live when they possibly wouldn't. Maybe eventually it might even be used to recreate a paralyzed spine. The possibilities are nearly endless, and just over the horizon. Go to http://www.gscn.org/ or http://stemcells.nih.gov/info/basics/pages/basics1.aspx to learn more about stem cell basics and information.