In the body, there are many types of cells that work so that all your organs function properly. However, have you ever heard of stem cells? In the medical world, stem cells are currently a topic that is quite hotly discussed, because these cells have 'special' abilities and can be the latest breakthrough in treating various chronic diseases.
What are stem cells?
Basically, all individuals come from a cell called a zygote - a cell that is combined between a woman's egg and a man's sperm. Then, this cell divides into two, then four cells, and so on. After splitting, these cells will naturally take their respective roles and responsibilities in the body. This process is called differentiation.
Stem cells or stem cells are still 'innocent' and do not have any function. If you remember the lesson when in school, each network consists of cells that have their respective functions. For example, muscle cells that function to maintain muscle function.
Meanwhile, stem cells are not like other cells. This cell is like pure and has not been given any responsibility, nor has it gone through the process of being compensated. In addition, this type of cell has the ability to and can divide as much as possible according to needs. Both of these abilities make stem cells considered 'special' and can be used to treat an illness.
What are the types of stem cells?
There are several types of stem cells that can be used in medical research, namely:
Embryonic stem cells
Cells taken from the embryo - zygote cells that have developed and split - which have an age of around 3-5 days. Usually these cells are obtained from the process of IVF, so they are not taken from the womb of women who have embryos. This embryonic stem cell has a very long life, can multiply hundreds of times, and is pluripotent or can develop into any cell in the body. but until now the use of embryonic stem cells is still quite controversial.
Non-embryonic stem cells or adult stem cells
Unlike its name, this type of cell is still taken from the body of the baby or even children. These stem cells come from various tissues that are still in the development stage. This type of cell can only multiply according to the role it has received before. Examples such as hematopoietic stem cells are adult stem cells that originate from the bone marrow and function to make new blood cells.
Stem cells from the umbilical cord
These cells are taken from the umbilical cord and newborn placenta which are then stored directly in the stem cell bank for later use. these types of cells can help treat blood cancer and blood disorders in children.
What are the uses of stem cells?
Cells that have "worked" on a network, have the ability to multiply only a few times before they are damaged. While stem cells have the ability to make themselves many, to infinity - according to the needs of the body. So this cell is considered to be able to reshape a damaged network.
This ability is considered to be used to help treat various diseases, especially chronic diseases. Many studies have tried to understand and test the use of stem cells. From many of these studies, it is known that stem cells have the potential to treat various diseases such as:
- Heart disease
- Vision problems, such as retinal damage
- Disorders of hearing ability
Controversy over the treatment of chronic diseases with stem cells
Although stem cells are believed to have great potential in the medical field, this treatment using cells still causes pros and cons. This controversy arises because stem cells that can be used to treat all these diseases are obtained directly from the embryo.
The embryo taken from the stem cell can be disrupted until death. For some people who contra with stem cell therapy, assume that the embryo is the earliest form of humans, so this therapy is no different than killing humans.
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