Stem cells are special human cells that bifurcate and develop into various different cells like muscle cells, skin cells, brain cells, blood cells etc. during early life and growth. These cells can repair the damage done in the tissue and muscles of organs due to their constant and incessant multiplying. Stem cells are also used in various other therapeutic purposes in organ growth and treating various other diseases. Hence, stem cell banking has become a thing of utmost priority when a kid is born. It may not only benefit the kid in the future but can also benefit the other family members and close relatives against deadly diseases.
How do stem cells work ?
We have already discussed what are stem cells in the earlier paragraph. Now, let us understand what are the properties of stem cells and what role do they play in disease control. Let us first study the properties of stem cells.
Properties of stem cells
Stem cells are considered to be the multitasking force of our body which can grow into any cells and help our body repair itself. So, let us study the properties of stem cells which is divided into three factors. These are those three factors
- Stem cells are capable of dividing and renewing themselves for long periods
- They are unspecialized cells
- They can convert to specialized cells
Stem cells are capable of dividing and renewing themselves for long periods
Stem cells keep on dividing and dividing for long periods of time. An initial batch of few stem cells can eventually provide us with millions of these non differentiated unspecialized cells. If the resulting daughter are unspecialized as the parent cells, then they are called long term renewal stem cells. There are two main types of stem cells embryonic stem cells and adult or hematopoietic stem cells. The embryonic stem cells have the capability of renewal for a longer period of time.
Embryonic stem cells are the cells that are derived from a preimplantation embryo and these cells with its capability of renewal for a longer period of time form the three germ layers of the embryo, which then develops into a fetus.
They are unspecialized cells
Stem cells are unspecialized cells, so they cannot do the functions of specialized cells, like carrying purified blood from the heart to other organs or cannot carry oxygen molecules throughout the body. But, they can get converted into specialized cells and then function like one.
They can convert into specialized cells
The unspecialized stem cells get converted into specialized stem cells via a series of steps called differentiation. The process of differentiation depends on the internal and external signals that a cell receives. The internal signals are sent by the genes that are present inside the cells and are spread throughout the long and hairlike strands of DNA. The external signals are dependent on the chemicals that are released by the cell, the neighboring cells, the physical contact with other cells and a lot more.
So, these are the properties of stem cells. Now let us discuss the role it plays in curing diseases.
Role of stem cells in curing disease
Most of the times when we hear the word stem cell for treatment, we think about stem cell transplant. Well, this is one of the types of treatment.
In stem cell transplant embryonic stem cells are converted into mature adult stem cells of that particular cell type and then the cells are transplanted into the body to repair the damaged muscles, tissue or organ. The mature cells replace the damaged cells and repair the body.
Much more can be done with embryonic stem cells. Scientists are doing a lot of research on how the heart and other organs develop from stem cells. If they get a breakthrough into that then, there can be cure to any damn disease in the world. If you preserve your kids stem cells via stem cell banking then it will be beneficial to your kid, you and your near and dear ones. As, the kids stem cells carry the matching genetic code.
What is stem cell banking ?
Stem cell banking is the process of extracting stem cells from various sources and storing them in a particular perfect environmental conditions at particular places. As mentioned earlier, stem cells can get converted into mature cells for any organ development and hence can prevent more than half of the diseases.
The sources from where we can obtain stem cells are as follows:
- Umbilical cord
- Amniotic fluid
- Dental stem cells
- Bone marrow
- Menstrual fluid
These stem cells are separated using a variety of methods and then processed and preserved according to its mandatory criteria. These cells are then multiplied and preserved every year. There are various methods to preserve stem cells. Whenever your kid,you or anyone from your close family members need them, you can contact the cell bank and get them thawed and develop a new organ according to doctor’s advice.