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THE PHARMA REVIEW (MAY - JUNE 2012)

Stem Cells – An Overview

Gururaj A. Rao

Abstract: Stem cells have been in the media limelight for around a decade or so. The raging debates over embryonic stem cell research during the George Bush era brought this field into public attention. The immense therapeutic potential of stem cells held out a hope to millions of people suffering from degenerative diseases. The same potential has till date kept stem cells in the limelight.
 
Introduction
Embryonic stem cells have the capacity to form almost all the different kinds of cells that compose the human body. This capacity is called pluripotency. ES cells, however, are derived from early embryos, formed just after conception. This has put the ES cells into the eye of a raging ethical debate. Clinical use of ES cells is also hampered by the fact that ES cells cannot be directly implanted into the human body. The primal nature of the ES cell genome drives them to grow uncontrollably leading to formation of tumors. Therefore, ES cells have to be used only in a differentiated form and only after adding appropriate genetic controls. On the whole, there is still much research and careful progress necessary to bring ES cells into clinical practice.

 

 

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