INTRODUCTION Dr. James Thomson, and Dr. John Gearhart Human first cultured embryonic stem cells in 1998. Studies done on test animals indicated that it may be possible to manipulate stem cells to produce certain desired cells. Stem cells are unspecialized cells that are the building blocks for all other specialized cells. Stem cells fall into two different categories Pluripotent, and Multipotent. Pluripotent cells are embryonic stem cells, they bring about the bases for many different types of cells. From the pluripotent stem cells, multipotent stem cells are produced, which are more specialized. This process continues and the cells become more specialized until they become specific cells of the body. This technology will be very beneficial to human kind because, when mastered, entire organs could be gown to replace damaged ones. Harvesting procedure Dr. Thomson obtained embryos from In Vitro Fertilization clinics and isolated the inner cell mass of the embryos at the while they were in the blastocyst stage. He then cultured the isolated cell mass. Dr. Gearhart obtained his cells differently. Dr. Gearhart used fetal tissue from terminated pregnancies specifically he used the cells of the fetus that were going to be the reproductive organs. Using the cultured cells, and an egg cell that has had it nucleus removed, researchers then fused the two. The results of this procedure is a cell with the potential to develop into a fully functional organism. Soon it will be possible to repair or replace damaged organs using stem cell technology. Using samples from the person with the damaged organ the genetic material would be removed and injected into donated human eggs (from which the chromosomes have been removed). These altered cells are grown in a lab, where they develop into embryos that can be cultured to make embryonic stem cells, from which new organ cells can be produced. POTENTIALS OF…
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