What are the potential uses of stem cells?
• Studies of human embryonic stem cells will yield information of the events that occur during human development
• Despite that scientists know that the turning on and off of genes is essential, a goal of this research is to identify the way in which an unspecialised cell begins to differentiate to form tissues and organs
• Some of the most serious diseases, such as cancer and birth defects, arise from abnormal cell division and differentiation. A more complete understanding of the genetic and molecular processes may yield further information as to the cause and potential therapies/cures of such diseases.
• Currently, the need for transplantable tissues and organs far outweighs the available supply. Stem cells, directed to differentiate into specific cell types, offer the possibility of a renewable source of replacement cells and tissues to treat diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, spinal cord injury, stroke, burns, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis etc.
• Tissues developed from a person’s own stem cells would not provoke an immune response when transplanted into the person’s body.