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STEM CELL RESEARCH - Basics

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STEM CELL RESEARCH - Basics M. Arshad Chaudhry, Ph.D. Michael Smith Laboratories UBC, Vancouver ma_chaudhry_at_hotmail.com Outline of This Presentation Stem cell ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: STEM CELL RESEARCH - Basics


1
STEM CELL RESEARCH - Basics
  • M. Arshad Chaudhry, Ph.D.
  • Michael Smith Laboratories
  • UBC, Vancouver
  • ma_chaudhry_at_hotmail.com

2
Outline of This Presentation
  • Stem cell research
  • The nature and promise of stem cell research
  • The ethical debate

3
What Are Stem Cells?
  • Stem cells are the raw material from which all of
    the bodys mature, differentiated cells are made.
    Stem cells give rise to brain cells, nerve
    cells, heart cells, pancreatic cells, etc.

4
Whats So Special About Stem Cells?
  • They have the potential to replace cell tissue
    that has been damaged or destroyed by severe
    illnesses.
  • They can replicate themselves over and over for a
    very long time.
  • Understanding how stem cells develop into healthy
    and diseased cells will assist the search for
    cures.

5
Two Kinds of Stem Cells
  • Embryonic (also called pluripotent) stem
    cells are capable of developing into all the cell
    types of the body.
  • Adult stem cells are less versatile and more
    difficult to identify, isolate, and purify.

6
Stages of Early Embryonic Development
Stages of Early Embryonic Development
7
Embryonic Stem Cells
Researchers extract stem cells from a 5-7 days
old blastocyst.
Stem cells can divide in culture to form more of
their own kind, thereby creating a stem cell
line.
The research aims to induce these cells to
generate healthy tissue needed by patients.
8
Two Sources of Embryonic Stem Cells
  • 1. Excess fertilized eggs from IVF (in-vitro
    fertilization) clinics
  • 2. Therapeutic cloning (somatic cell nuclear
    transfer)

9
  • Tens of thousands of frozen embryos are routinely
    destroyed when couples finish their treatment.
  • These surplus embryos can be used to produce
    stem cells.
  • Regenerative medical research aims to develop
    these cells into new, healthy tissue to heal
    severe illnesses.

10
  • Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer
  • The nucleus of a donated egg is removed and
    replaced with the nucleus of a mature, "somatic
    cell" (a skin cell, for example).
  • No sperm is involved in this process, and no
    embryo is created to be implanted in a womans
    womb.
  • The resulting stem cells can potentially develop
    into specialized cells that are useful for
    treating severe illnesses.

11
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12
Adult Stem Cells
  • Fundamental feature of adult stem cells
  • They maintain the ability to divide throughout
    life and give rise to specific cell type
  • Blood vessel stem cells can not give rise to
    brain or heart muscle cells
  • The fact that developmental potential of adult
    stem cells is restricted has recently been
    challenged
  • Why some tissues maintain stem cells and others
    dont is not understood

13
The Ethical Debate
  • In favor of ESCR
  • Embryonic stem cell research (ESCR) fulfills the
    ethical obligation to alleviate human suffering.
  • Since excess IVF embryos will be discarded
    anyway, isnt it better that they be used in
    valuable research?
  • SCNT (Therapeutic Cloning) produces cells in a
    petri dish, not a pregnancy.
  • Against ESCR
  • In ESCR, stem cells are taken from a human
    blastocyst, which is then destroyed. This
    amounts to murder.
  • There is a risk of commercial exploitation of
    the human participants in ESCR.
  • Slippery slope argument ESCR will lead to
    reproductive cloning.

14
Key Ethical Issues
  • The blastocyst used in stem cell research is
    microscopically small and has no nervous system.
    Does it count as a person who has a right to
    life?
  • What do various religions say about when
    personhood begins? Does science have a view on
    this?
  • In a society where citizens hold diverse
    religious views, how can we democratically make
    humane public policy?

15
Stem Cell Research Worldwide
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