Helping Stem Cell Research

by: Michael Mirra

Introduction to Stem Cells

A little back story, for the people who don't know what stem cells are, before I go too in depth. Basically the cells in your body are specialized to perform certain functions and therefore differ from other cells. For example, muscle cells and blood cells are different as skin cells are different from brain cells, etc. Stem cells are basically non specialized/undifferentiated cells, meaning that they can be specialized and turn into any of the varying cell types in your body. There are two different kinds of stem cells, embryonic and adult. Embryonic stem cells, like the name suggests, come from embryos, and adult stem cells are thought to be undifferentiated cells that can be found in both children and adults.

Curing Diseases with Stem Cells

Now that we're all on the same page, lets talk about curing diseases with the help of stem cells. Since stem cells are non specialized, or undifferentiated, they can be used to replace damaged cell tissues and fix cell-related problems. Leukemia is helped by transplanting bone marrow into the body, which if you didn't know is where new blood cells are formed. The symptoms of disorders like Parkinson's disease can be helped by producing healthy brain cells. Stem cells can also be used to create insulin-producing cells to treat diabetes.

Helping Research

You can help stem cell research in a couple of different ways, like simply educating others about stem cell research. You can also donate to stem cell research centers and supply them with funds or tissues. It's obviously not a necessity to help the research, but if you wish to help the thousands of people who suffer with any disease that stem cells can help cure, then I would recommend helping stem cell research.