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Stem cells or mother or queen of all cells are pleuropotent and have the remarkable potential to develop into many different cell types in the body. Serving as a sort of repair system for the body, they can theoretically divide without limit to replenish other cells as long as the person or animal is alive. When a stem cell divides, each new cell has the potential to either remain a stem cell or become another type of cell with a more specialized function, such as a muscle cell, a red blood cell, or a brain cell. Stem cells differ from other kinds of cells in the body. All stem cells regardless of their source have three general properties:
They are unspecialized; one of the fundamental properties of a stem cell is that it does not have any tissue-specific structures that allow it to perform specialized functions.
They can give rise to specialized cell types. These unspecialized stem cells can give rise to specialized cells, including heart muscle cells, blood cells, or nerve cells.
Stem cells may be the person’s own cells (a procedure called autologous transplantation) or those of a donor (a procedure called allogenic transplantation). When the person’s own stem cells are used, they are collected before chemotherapy or radiation therapy because these treatments can damage stem cells. They are injected back into the body after the treatment.
The sources of stem cells are varied such as pre-implantation embryos, children, adults, aborted fetuses, embryos, umbilical cord, menstrual blood, amniotic fluid and placenta
New research shows that transplanted stem cells migrate to the damaged areas and assume the function of neurons, holding out the promise of therapies for Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s, spinal cord injury, stroke, Cerebral palsy, Battens disease and other neurodegenerative diseases.