Stem cell researchRegenerative medicine - stem cells
A stem cell is a generic cell that can make exact copies of itself indefinitely. A stem cell has the ability to make specialized cells for various tissues in the body, such as heart muscle, brain tissue, and liver tissue. Stem cells can be saved and used later to make specialized cells, when needed.
There are two basic types of stem cells:
- Embryonic stem cells: These are taken from aborted fetuses or fertilized eggs that are left over from in vitro fertilization (IVF). They are useful for medical and research purposes because they can produce cells for almost every tissue in the body.
- Adult stem cells: These are not usually used for research because they are specific to certain cell types, such as blood, intestines, skin, and muscle. The term adult stem cell may be misleading because both children and adults have them.
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Levy M, Boulis N, Rao M, Svendsen CN. Regenerative cellular therapies for neurologic diseases. Brain Res. 2016;1638(Pt A):88-96. PMID: 26239912 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26239912.
National Institutes of Health website. National Institutes of Health guidelines on human stem cell research. stemcells.nih.gov/policy/2009-guidelines.htm. Accessed November 12, 2018.
Research America website. Stem cell research FAQs. www.researchamerica.org/advocacy-action/issues-researchamerica-advocates/stem-cell-research/stem-cell-research-faqs. Accessed November 12, 2018.