Stem Cells : What They Are Essay
Stem cells and derived products offer great promise for new medical treatments. Learn about stem cell types, current and possible uses, ethical issues, and the state of research and practice.
By Mayo Clinic Staff
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You 've heard about stem cells in the news, and perhaps you 've wondered if they might help you or a loved one with a serious disease. You may wonder what stem cells are, how they 're being used to treat disease and injury, and why they 're the subject of such vigorous debate.
Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about stem cells.
Why is there such an interest in stem cells?
Researchers and doctors hope stem cell studies can help to:
•Increase understanding of how diseases occur. By watching stem cells mature into cells in bones, heart muscle, nerves, and other organs and tissue, researchers and doctors may better understand how diseases and conditions develop.
• Generate healthy cells to replace diseased cells (regenerative medicine). Stem cells can be guided into becoming specific cells that can be used to regenerate and repair diseased or damaged tissues in people.
People who might benefit from stem cell therapies include those with spinal cord injuries, type 1 diabetes, Parkinson 's disease, Alzheimer 's disease, heart disease, stroke, burns, cancer and osteoarthritis.…