Hyderabad, AP (PRWEB) July 16, 2012
Stem Cell Research has picked up pace like never before now. The science of stem cells is leading to evolution of cell-based therapies referred to as reparative or regenerative medicine for the treatment of diseases. The ongoing research on stem cells indicates the replenishment of damaged cells by healthy cells in adult organism and the origin of an organism through a single cell. Stem cell science is predicted to be the most promising field in Biology though it has its own share of queries and controversies.
Stem Cell Research is progressive yet mired in controversies. The technology is leading to a new kind of cell-based medicine that is regenerative in nature. However, practicality and ethics dominate the ever controversial subject. Hence, it may take some more time, before a proper worldwide consensus emerges on the usage and procedures of stem cell research. While some countries approve, some oppose. Stem cell research is most likely to gather pace in countries with less regulatory controls. Of all the countries, China has the most favorable environment for research. The UK too has a strong research presence. The United States is the leader in stem cell research. However, the government controls the grants for research but places no restrictions on funds from private, state, or local government resources.
Stem cells give advanced information about how an organism develops from a single cell and how healthy cells replace damaged cells in adult organisms. This is a very promising area of science and has huge disease-curing applications. Stem cells are as much part of controversy as they are exciting. They possess the potential for curing diseases including Alzheimer’s, Diabetes, Huntington’s and Parkinson’s. Stem cell research itself is controversial as the stem cells are derived from embryos. Growth of stem cells market worldwide is basically driven by the potential of stem cells for the various diseases. For example, embryonic stem cells are capable of generating new tissues and organs to replace the damaged tissues and organs.
Adult stem cells market is the largest tapped market while cord blood and embryonic stem cell markets, though with huge market potential, are still in infancy stages. The US is the leader followed by the European and Asia-Pacific regions. With government regulations being amended in several countries, Stem Cell Research is expected to pick up pace rapidly in the next few years.
Stem Cell technology is being increasing applied for the past decade to treat critical diseases and presently utilized for treatment of more than 70 diseases. Utility of stem cells in cosmetic and post injury healing therapy was also established recently. Umbilical cord is an abundant source of stem cells and the best advantage of this source is that it is a non-invasive procedure as cord blood and cord tissue are utilized to derive stem cells.
Stem cells are found in adult bone marrow and also in embryos. Adult stem cells have been used in disease treatment since long time. However, embryonic stem cell research is the topic of debate. The field can lead to great therapeutic treatments. But, due to its various ethical origins, is mired in debates all over the world. Embryonic stem cells have the potential to transform into any other type of cell (unlike adult stem cells). The huge potential for embryonic stem cells lies in finding treatments for liver disorders, neurodegenerative disorders, spinal cord injuries, cardiac diseases, cancers, diabetes, cosmetics, bone and cartilage diseases, ostroarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and a host of other life threatening diseases. The discovery of a second source of adult stem cells has given hope and great potential for the future of stem cell therapy.
Embryonic stem cell research evokes great excitement primarily due to the fact that embryonic stem cells can make so called regenerative medicine and be used in therapeutic cloning. Embryonic stem cell research has the potential to contribute to the management and treatment of a large number of diseases such as diabetes, spinal cord injuries, cardiac disease, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. Scientists can learn about human cell growth and development, and also to understand cancer better. However, controversial debates (ethical issues) in this area have led scientists to study more about adult stem cell research. However, embryonic stem cells still capture scientist’s fancy due to their enhanced proficiency at cell division and plasticity. Apart from the US (after initial bans), the UK, Belgium, Sweden, Japan, China and South Korea have allowed embryonic stem cell cloning. The EU also provides funds for countries undertaking embryonic stem cell research. President Obama’s change in policy for embryonic stem cell research will open new doors for scientists. A lifting of restrictions also means that detailed guidelines have to be outlined and proper laws should be in place for the several issues in stem cell research.
Countries are competing globally for getting an edge in stem cell research as breakthrough technologies in this field would herald the country’s medical expertise and dominance. Research and laboratory technologies are also progressing rapidly. The potential of stem cell research – both medically and economically, is leading to huge investments by biotechnology companies, pharmaceutical companies and governments too.
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