Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have developed a technique they believe will help scientists overcome a major hurdle to the use of adult stem cells for treating muscular dystrophy and other muscle-wasting disorders that accompany aging or disease: They've found that growing muscle stem cells on a specially developed synthetic matrix that mimics the elasticity of real muscle allows them to maintain their self-renewing properties. By mimicking this environment we can really influence their function and allow them to self-renew in ways we've never been able to achieve before. Adult stem cells already exist in the body, and are important in regenerating tissues like blood, muscles and neurons in the brain. But scientists have struggled to produce them in quantities needed for therapies because the cells differentiate and lose their "stemness" as soon as they're placed in a tissue culture dish.
Adult stem cell
Adult Stem Cells | HowStuffWorks
You can think of adult stem cells as our built-in repair kits, regenerating cells damaged by disease, injury and everyday wear and tear. These undifferentiated cells reside among other differentiated cells in a tissue or organ; they divide and become specialized to repair or replace the surrounding differentiated cells. A common example of adult stem cells is hemopoietic stem cells , which are found in red bone marrow. These stem cells differentiate into various blood cells red blood cells, lymphocytes, platelets-- see How Blood Works for more information. For example, red blood cells are not capable of reproducing and survive for about 28 days.
How Stem Cells Work
In multicellular organisms , stem cells are undifferentiated or partially differentiated cells that can differentiate into various types of cells and proliferate indefinitely to produce more of the same stem cell. They are the earliest type of cell in a cell lineage. They are usually distinguished from progenitor cells , which cannot divide indefinitely, and precursor or blast cells, which are usually committed to differentiating into one cell type.
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