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Thread: Power of stem cells

  1. #1 Power of stem cells 
    Forum Ph.D. Raziell's Avatar
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    I just watched the south park episode where christofer reeve eats the spinal fluids out of fetuses to rejuvenate himself. Though this is a comedy show and fictional, not even trying to be serious in the slightest - i was wondering how powerfull stem cells really are and how they are being used in medicine and science today.

    Does it really have the potential to cure age, deafness and so many illnesses?


    A lie is a lie even if everyone believes it. The truth is the truth even if nobody believes it. - David Stevens
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  3. #2  
    Forum Professor Zwirko's Avatar
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    An interesting study I read about recently concerned mice with an obsessive compulsive disorder. These mice had a mutation in the HOXB8 gene, the product of which is used by the mysterious microglial cells of the brain. Mice with a mutation in this gene groom themselves compulsively to the point of scraping away their own skin a creating nasty sores. Since microglia are actually cells of the immune system, they develop from hematopoietic stem cells in the bone marrow. You can probably guess what's coming next... a hematopoietic stem cell transplant cured these mice of their disorder. So that'd be an example of a bone marrow transplant (a type of stem cell transplant) that can cure a "mental disorder". Although it's likely just fantasy, you could envision stem cell transplants being used to treat a range of human mental disorders one day in the future (or at we could look to see if such an approach would be feasible).


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  4. #3  
    Forum Junior JennLonhon's Avatar
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    Stem cells are indeed very powerful. How? Those are the only cells in human body that at certain "age" have the ability to turn into any kind of cell.... And that by itself provides a lot of opportunities in medicine. However they are relatively new technology so.... There are many unexplored ways of using them....
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  5. #4  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    Nonsense. Differentiated cells can also de-differentiate.
    "Kill them all and let God sort them out."

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  6. #5  
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    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
    Nonsense. Differentiated cells can also de-differentiate.
    Are you sure about that? Can you make an example?
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    "In the last few months there has been a downpour of discoveries in the area of stem cell research. Three of the latest findings reveal new ways to turn back the clock on mature cells and transform them so that they resemble the cells of human embryos. As a result, scientists may be closer to the goal of using new stem cell therapies to treat diseases, from Parkinson’s to diabetes.

    The embryonic state is desirable because these cells have the potential to become any type of cell in the human body. Last year, two studies showed that human skin cells could be ‘reprogrammed’ into cells that behave like embryonic stem cells. The scientists achieved this by inserting just four genes into the skin cells."

    By Rachael Rettner | Posted October 29, 2008

    http://www.scienceline.org/2008/10/b...mcellresearch/

    That's not even recent, I am sure they have much better and more recent ways of changing cells back into stem cells now.
    Always minimize the variables.

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    Remarkable discovery, haven't heard of it before. Many thanks.
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  9. #8  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    Dedifferentiation can also be used as a system to maintain and regulate stem cells according to theoretical models. However, the amount of dedifferentiation needed is so small that it is currently impossible to show it in vivo.

    In vitro it is really a normal phenomenon.
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  10. #9  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    It would be easier just to change the environment. We mostly don't have mental issues because we were born with them. We create them over time.
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  11. #10  
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    It is usually much easier to apply any medical procedure, than to change the entire culture...
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  12. #11  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    It seems easier, until you realize you do not eliminate the cause and just keep perpetuating the problem.
    "Kill them all and let God sort them out."

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    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alfreda99
    The word biology is derived from the greek words /bios/ meaning /life/ and /logos/ meaning /study/ and is defined as the science of life and living organisms.

    Term papers writing service
    Who will rid me of this turbulent spammer?
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  14. #13  
    Veracity Vigilante inow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by Alfreda99
    The word biology is derived from the greek words /bios/ meaning /life/ and /logos/ meaning /study/ and is defined as the science of life and living organisms.

    Term papers writing service link defecated upon by iNow
    Who will rid me of this turbulent spammer?
    You fool! You sweet naive man with sharp tongue, but blunted awareness! You've included his link in your quote of him. We're all doomed!! Doomed, I tells ye!

    Well... Okay. Not doomed, but you're clearly not helping anybody by forgetting to edit out the link when quoting a spermer... I mean... erm... spammer.
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  15. #14  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Since my post echoed the words of Henry II that led to the assassination of Thomas ŕ Becket in Canterbury in November (?) 1170, I felt the guy deserved some sort of break. Even now my accolytes, sycophants and proteges may be converging on the poor man's server with fatal intent. It happens all the time. I just have to accept it as one of the prices of fame.
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    Induced pluripotent stem cells still have a lot of issues to work out. The technology is far from perfect.
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  17. #16 Re: Power of stem cells 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell
    Does it really have the potential to cure age, deafness and so many illnesses?
    If the religious community would get out of our way, yes.



    Deafness can be cured with two things - "Spare Parts" (prosthetics, bone replacements, etc) for the hammer+anvil+stirrup, and modified stem cells + hormone cocktail (HGH/Somatropin) to repair the auditory nerve and eardrum.

    Age is caused by differences in hormone production over time, I believe. Cells die off as life goes on. Neurons and muscles don't regenerate quickly enough to counteract this, as with most other organs. Stem cells can be used to regenerate nerves, as shown with an experiment on rats with crushed spines (relatively shortly after the stem cells + hormone cocktail were injected on site, the rats were able to walk and bear loads again), so it can cure Alzheimer's and generally prevent brain decay. The same thing can be done with, say, cardiac muscle cells. Here, I think it's just a question of forced maintenance.

    Most illnesses can be cured through other mechanisms. Genetic illnesses can be prevented with genetic modification of the zygote, and (though this may take a VERY long time to harness properly) possibly cured with viruses replacing DNA in problematic cells.
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