Stem cell PT

Introduction to Stem Cell-Free Presentation

Stem cell technology and research has emerged as a prominent field of biomedical sciences. Stem cell therapy is showing promising results for treating several diseases and disorders which until now were not treatable.

We have talked about stem cell and stem cell therapy in our previous article, For having a better understanding of the concepts we have made a detailed PowerPoint presentation on Introduction to Stem cell & Stem cell Therapy,

You can download the presentation for academics purposes

Introduction to Stem Cell

Our bodies contain several organs such as the brain, bones, heart and reproductive organs, The basic undifferentiated cells that give rise to all of these organs are called the stem cell.

Stem cells are a special kind of cell that has the ability to divide indefinitely and have the potential to differentiate into any cell of our body.

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Unspecialized: One of the fundamental properties of stem cells is that they do not have any tissue-specific composition

Differentiation: Stem cells can differentiate into any tissue of our body, This property is used in stem cell therapy to repair damaged organs.

Proliferation: They have theoretically infinite dividing and self renewal potential

Plasticity: Stem cells can give rise to cell types other than the cells of location where they are found. E.g. Blood cells can become neuron or a liver cell.

Types of Stem Cell in Humans

Based on the action potential of stem cells they can be categorized under three categories

Totipotent Stem Cell: These stem cells can differentiate into any body cell or tissue including extraembryonic membrane (Placenta)

Pluripotent Stem Cell: These stem cells can differentiate into any body cell or tissue except extraembryonic membrane

Multipotent Stem Cell: These stem cells can differentiate into limited cells and body tissue

Totipotent stem cells have the potential to differentiate into any type of cell or tissue in our body including extraembryonic membrane (Placenta).

Due to their unique characteristics they are sometimes also referred to as
“Omnipotent Stem Cells”

Totipotent stem cells can give rise to any of the 220 cell types found in an embryo

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Where are totipotent stem cells found in our body?

Totipotent Stem Cells are only found in Fertilized Egg (Zygote)

 and The initial 4 celled or so structure formed by the division of the zygote

Pluripotent stem are similar to totipotent stem cells in most manner and have the potential to differentiate into any type of cell or tissue in our body except the cells of extraembryonic membrane (Placenta).

Pluripotent stem cells can from all three basic body layers, so they can potentially produce any cell or tissue the body needs to repair itself

Where are pluripotent stem cells found in our body?

2 Types of Pluripotent Stem Cells are found in our body

Embryonic Stem Cells: found in inner mass cells of blastocyst stage of embryo

Embryonic Germ Cells: cells of the embryo that will produce egg or sperm in the future

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Extracting Embryonic Stem Cells

Pluripotent stem cells are found in developing embryo or fetus so getting these cells is not easy, This would have been a huge concern if it wasn’t for IVF.

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In a IVF procedure many embryos are formed but not all of them are used

There are over a million IVF cycles happening everyday

These embryos are used to produce stem cells which with proper development can be used to repair damaged organs  

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How are Embryonic Stem Cells Harvested?

Frozen embryos formed by IVF are taken and grown for 4-5 days
The outer layer of blastocyst is broken down and the inner mass cells or stems cells are extracted by a pipette

Based on the type of cells we want to develop specific growth factors and chemical cues like Activin-A, BMP-4 , FGF, Wnt are added to the culture medium
Desired Cell Type is Formed

These true stem cells but can only differentiate into a limited cells and body tissue.

For Example: 

The multipotent stem cells found in bone marrow (Hematopoietic Stem Cell) can only form blood cells and no other cell

One of the current trend in healthcare is the cord blood banking ,Our umbilical cords are rich in multipotent stem cells and people are paying a lot of money to preserve them for possible future use

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Where are multipotent stem cells found in our body?

Multipotent Stem cells are found in our most of our organs

Bone Marrow
Umbilical Cord
Cardiac Muscle

Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells iPSCs

In the lab, scientists can now induce or cause a regular body cell such as a skin cell to change into a pluripotent stem cell-like.

These induced pluripotent stem cells can become any type of cell in the body

Based on the origin stem cells can be classified into two broad categories

Embryonic Stem cells

Adult Stem Cells

Contrary to embryonic stem cells as seen in previous slides Adult stem cells have a restrictive differentiation capacity and tissues specific

Adult stem cells or somatic stem cells are undifferentiated cells found in different tissues of our body. The primary role of these cells is to maintain and repair the tissue they are in.

Adult stem cells are mostly used in stem cell therapy as regenerative medicine to repair injured or dysfunctional tissues or organs

Blood is filtered and stem cells are extracted and then injected into the required area

Since the person’s own adult stem cells are used they are less likely to cause immune rejection

Stem cell therapy or Stem cell transplant is also referred to as regenerative medicine, The treatment helps in repairing injured or dysfunctional tissues or organs using stem cells. 

Stem cell therapy is evolving as an alternative to organ transplantation.

Getting donor organs is really difficult for many patients as they are limited in number, This therapy uses stem cells in place of donor organs.

For example,

If a patient is suffering from a kidney disease, Stem cells can be injected into the kidney.

These healthy kidney cells with help in repairing the injured kidney cells.

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Types of Stem Cell Therapy

Adult Stem Cell Therapy

Placenta Stem Cell Therapy

Embryonic Stem Cell Therapy

Fetal Stem Cell Therapy

Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Therapy

Autologous stem cell transplant: collected from the patient’s own blood or marrow
Allogeneic stem cell transplant: collected from a related or unrelated donor’s blood or marrow

Syngeneic stem cell transplant: collected from a identical twin’s blood or marrow

Stem cells used in the procedure are taken either from your body or from a matching donor which is usually a family member

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Process of Stem Cell Transplant

Evaluation and pre-transplant testing
Identification of the appropriate type of transplantation

Obtaining stem cells from the patient or a donor
Extracted blood is processed in the lab using a centrifuge machine to separates stem cells from normal blood cells, This process takes about 5-6 hours 

chemotherapy and/or radiation
Conditioning treatment to the patient in order to destroy all of the diseased cells
Infusion of healthy stem cells into the patient

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For which diseases is stem cell therapy available

There are certainly more diseases currently being treated by stem cell therapy than the one listed listed here

Diseases and Cancers of the Blood (Hematopoietic Disorders)

Aplastic Anemia, 
Myelodysplastic syndrome
Sickle Cell Anemia, 
Blood Storage Disorders.

80+ Neuromuscular and Degenerative Disorders

Spinal Cord Injuries
Muscular Dystrophy
Cerebral Palsy
Head Injuries
Motor Neuron Disorders
Intellectual Disabilities 

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Stem Cell Banking

Stem cell banking is the process of stem cell preservation for possible future
One of the most popular stem cell banking is “The Cord Blood Banking”, It is the extraction of stem cells of baby from the umbilical cord.

These stem cells are pluripotent and are rich in quality they can for almost all types of cells in your body.

Labs offering cord blood banking allow you to preserve your stem cells for as long as 30-40Years

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Process of Stem Cell Banking

Cord Blood Extraction
Upon birth but before the placenta is delivered, the healthcare provider will clamp and cut the umbilical cord and extract the remaining 40-120 ml of cord blood.

Blood Testing
 cord blood is tested for microbiological contamination, and the mother’s blood is tested for infectious diseases

Stem Cell Separation
The blood is processed to isolate stem cells out of the cord blood through process like centrifugation

To prevent the cell membranes from rupturing in low temperature , scientists add a cryo-protectant (Like DMSO).Scientists start freezing the cells by a process called controlled-rate freezing

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The Potential Uses Of Human Stem Cells

Understanding Diseases

Medical conditions, such as cancer are due to abnormal cell division. A better understanding of the genetic and molecular controls of these processes may yield information about how such diseases arise and suggest new strategies for therapy.

Cell-Based Therapies

Donated organs and tissues are used to replace destroyed tissue currently. Stem cells, directed to differentiate into specific cell types, offer the possibility of a renewable source of replacement cells

Drug Testing

New medications could be tested for safety on differentiated cells generated from human pluripotent cell lines than testing on human or animals

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Issues involved with stem cell research and therapy

The potential danger of tumorigenicity

Stem cells share cellular and molecular phenotypes with tumor cells and cancer cell lines, Their basic property of unlimited multiplication or self renewal can lead to tumorigenicity in cell.

That patients could be treated for one disease, such as macular degeneration, only to develop another, cancer

Risk of contamination and genomic changes

Arising due to manipulations of the cell outside the body, In addition extrinsic risk factors like manufacturing, handling, storage- and clinical or treatment related risk factors can contribute to the overall risk to the patient,

Smallest of contamination in stem cells can lead to huge risk for the patient.

commercialization of human cells and tissues

Use of embryos for creating human embryonic stem cell may lead to to commercialization of human cells which is ethically wrong,  financially incentivized systems are inherently exploitative with the poorest becoming the sellers.

We can overcome this problem by altruistic stem cell donation

Extracting stem cells from embryo is murder

This is a topic that is being discussed across many developing field of biomedical sciences, Using human embryos for treatment and scientific purposes is not supported by everyone,

To extract embryonic stem cells we have to break the blastocyst wall which is considered to be murder by many people.

Final Words

Stem Cell research and therapy is still a nascent filed in biomedical sciences with an unlimited potential of growth, stem cells and their derivatives currently fall under the definition of ‘Drug’ and are categorized as ‘Investigational New Drug (IND)’ or ‘Investigational New Entity (INE)’ when used for clinical application

Further research on stem cells could help us find cure of thousands of diseases like cancer which are currently untreatable, 

One of the cons of stem cell treatments currently is that its benefits are only available to a small section of population due to the high cost associated with the treatments.

Perhaps In the near future this wonder drug would be available to the masses at much cheaper rate, making stem cells the wonder drug it has been claimed to be.

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