On the other hand, hopeful patients wait for concrete results from different laboratory tests to confirm that it is indeed an answer to their ailment. The purpose of this paper is to give a brief background on some facts about the human embryonic stem cells. Particularly it will explore answers to the following questions:
Each of us started as a single living cell that resulted from the union between a sperm and an egg. From this single cell, certain chronological events took place that eventually led to the development of different body parts. Cells increase in number and differentiated to many cell types until we reached and assumed a human form. Many doctors agree that this is a miracle of Science. On the other hand, some started to try and make this miracle happen in a petri dish for purposes of helping fertilization occur between couples wanting to have babies. Eventually, this simple experiment led to the discovery of another potential wonder that these dividing young cells could give. Thus, embryonic stem cells became a word of mouth in all scientific publications and journals. These cells are found in a 4-5 day old embryo. They have a unique capability to continuously divide that enables them to self-renew. ...
Embryonic stem cells are also capable of differentiating and developing into many cell types such as brain, heart, liver, skin cells, etc upon instructions of biological signals (NIC 2006). Hence, they are also called pluripotent cells.
History of Embryonic Stem Cell Research
Embryonic Stem Cell Research began through the efforts of Gail Martin, Matthew Kaufman and Martin Evans when they derived mouse embryonic stem cells way back in 1981 (The White House 2001). However, the breakthrough happened in February 1998 when James A. Thomson of the University of Wisconsin and his team announced that they had successfully isolated and cultured the first human stem cell line derived from blastocytes. The team obtained these blastocytes left over from successful in-vitro fertilization procedures (Stem Cells Portal 2008). Thomson revealed that the obtained cells transformed into different types when it was injected under the mice's skin. Furthermore, there were also remnants of the fundamental mammalian embryo layers proving that these cells are also flexible during the course of their development. The results obtained from the study shed hope gearing towards finding a medical treatment for some diseases (Pedersen 1999).
Just about the same time that year, another group of scientists were conducting experiments similar to that of Thomson. John D. Gearhart of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore was also extracting and culturing the same cell types from human fetal ovaries and testes (Pedersen 1999). Other developments and laboratory experiments soon followed with the same aim of developing their own embryonic stem cell line. One major scientific development took place in May of 2003 when researchers announced that they have successfully