Stem cells are described as biological cells that are still undifferentiated and that are differentiable into biological cells that are specialized. Stem cells undergo mitotic subdivision, resulting into more and more stem cells. Only multi-cellular organisms, including human beings, have stem cells. Every stem cell has a marked potential for developing into numerous, dissimilar types of cells especially an organism’s early life as well as growth (Lanza & Atala, 2014). Besides, the stem cells found in many tissues are elementarily internal repair arrangements, or systems, dividing continuously to ensure the replenishment of other cells. Each new cell that results from the subdivision of a new cell can become specialized to fit a given specialized role or function or remain a mere stem cell as the parent cell. The cells with specialized roles include brain cells, red blood cells, and muscle cells (National Research Council, 2002).
Stem cells have several exceptional features or characteristics. First, unlike other cells, stem cells are all unspecialized and able to renew themselves via mitotic division. At times, they take long before undergoing the division (National Research Council, 2002). Second, when placed under particular experimental or physiologic situations or conditions, one can induce them to develop into organ-specific or tissue-specific cells that have unique functions. In bone marrow, gut, and various other organs stem cells undergo the division regularly for the purpose of repairing, as well as replacing, damaged or worn-out tissues (Lanza & Atala, 2014). In various other organs such as the heart along with the pancreas, the cells only undergo the division under exceptional conditions.
There are different forms of stem cells, including adult stem cells, hematopoietic stem cells as well as bone marrow stromal stem cells. Adult stem cells exist together with cells that are already differentiated in particular organs and tissues. The adult stem cells renew themselves and are capable of differentiating into most of the principal specialized, or differentiated, cell types of the particular organs or tissues. Their elementary role is maintaining, as well as repairing, the organs or tissues hosting them. For instance, the brain’s adult stem cells differentiate into the brain’s nerve cells, oligodendrocytes, and astrocytes (National Research Council, 2002). Hematopoietic stem cells are found in the bone marrow and differentiate into blood cells. Bone marrow stromal stem cells are also found in the bone marrow, differentiate into cells that form body fat, cartilage, and bone, and play a vital role in the development of fibrous connective tissues and blood.
In recent times, clinicians and researchers have more and more focused on how to utilize adult stem cells in tissue transplantation. Indeed, hematopoietic stem cells are now commonly used in tissue transplantation. Their differentiation is regulated to make them the foundation of therapies that are hinged on transplantation, including concerning spinal cord injuries. Such injuries happen when the cord is transected, or vertebrae crush if fracture (Morganti-Kossmann, Raghupathi & Maas, 2012; National Research Council, 2002). When a spinal cord is damaged, it becomes impaired and loses muscle control and movement. The body may lose sensation. As well, the body may lose system control. Stem cells are capable of treating the injuries.
Various case studies and scholarly papers support the usage of stem cells derived from the allogeneic tissue making up umbilical cords in the treatment of the injuries. As well, various case studies and scholarly papers support the usage of autologous stem cells derived from bone marrow in the treatment of the injuries (Morganti-Kossmann, Raghupathi & Maas, 2012; National Research Council, 2002). Notably, the stem cells used in the treatment of the injuries are derived from bone marrow (CD34+ stem cells and allogeneic mesenchymal stem cells). The allogeneic mesenchymal stem cells are as well sourced from umbilical cords (National Research Council, 2002). As suggested earlier, when CD34+ stem cells and allogeneic mesenchymal stem cells are placed under specific experimental or physiologic situations or conditions, one can induce them to develop into organ-specific or tissue-specific cells that have unique functions. In particular organs, including the spinal cord, CD34+ stem cells, and allogeneic mesenchymal stem cells undergo the division regularly for the purpose of repairing, as well as replacing, damaged or worn-out tissues (Morganti-Kossmann, Raghupathi & Maas, 2012).
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