The adult stem cells have various abilities that can help the human body. Researchers are using this type of stem cell because the other type, the embryonic stem cells, is quite controversial since it came from an embryo.
That being said, the adult stem cells have two distinct properties. First, it has the ability to self-renew which means that it can run through numerous cycles of cell division. The beauty of this property is that the adult stem cells remain in an undifferentiated state, meaning, they can still turn to other cell types in the body.
The second property is its ability to turn into specific cells that have a specific set of functions. The neurons, for example, are cells that are found in the brain that are crucial for the functioning of our bodies.
Without these two inherent properties, the cell cannot be called an adult stem cell. Now, do not be fooled by its moniker. Even though it is called adult stem cells, these unspecialized cells can be found in the human body; be it a child or an adult.
Adult Stem Cell Source
Do you want to know why the adult stem cells are also known as Somatic? That is because these cells can be found in any part of our body. It can be found on the skin, the liver, the heart, the brain, and even in the bone marrow.
That is the beauty of this type of stem cell because it can be found just about anywhere. Although, you also have to note that there are some areas where they are most abundant and there are also some areas where they are scarce.
For example, if a person has suffered a heart attack, their heart muscles will be damaged in the process. Because there are only a few numbers of stem cells in the region, your body, alone, cannot initiate the repair of the damaged tissue.
That is why researchers today are still finding ways to transplant the stem cells in the area where the heart is so that it can initiate the healing process; all without using a bypass.
Adult Stem Cell Multipotency
As I’ve alluded to earlier, the adult stem cells have the ability to turn into specific or specialized cells, which means that it can turn into specific cell types depending on the certain need of the body.
That being said, the adult stem multipotency allows it to “differentiate” into other cells like glial and neural cells. Even though it has this ability, scientists have postulated that unipotency- or the ability to turn into one specific cell type only, is still a characteristic of the adult stem cell.
Safe to Use
Lastly, the beauty of adult stem cells is that it can be used in research without different social groups nagging you about it.
You see, embryonic stem cells are acquired from an embryo and whenever it is extracted of its stem cells, the embryo is practically dead.
Since adult stem cells are readily found in the body of an already grown up individual, there are no ethical implications in its use at all.