Stem cells are primitive cells found in all multi-cellular organisms that are characterized by self-renewal and the capacity to differentiate into mature cell types. Stem cell research and experimentation have been in process for well over five decades, as stem cells have the unique ability to divide and replicate repeatedly.
In a developing embryo, stem cells can differentiate into all of the specialized embryonic tissues. In adult organisms, stem and progenitor cells act as a repair system for the body, replenishing specialized cells and influencing the micro-environment through paracrine signalling.
Over the past several decades, six powerful stem cell applications have emerged, including the use of stem cells for:
Below is a more detailed explanation of each category:
- Research Tools – Use of stem cells as research tools within a laboratory setting
- Cell Therapies – Use of stem cells as cellular therapeutics within the human body, mediated via cellular regeneration, paracrine signalling, or modulation of the microenvironment
- Source Materials for 3D Printing and 3D Weaving – Use of stem cells within 3D printing applications, including 3D printing of tissues/organs that are seeded with living cells or integration of stem cells into 3D printing inks
- Drug Target Validation – Validation of the predicted target using tissue-specific stem cell derived cells
- Drug Delivery – Delivery of therapeutic products via stem cells and stem cell exosomes
- Toxicology Screening – Use of stem cells to evaluate effects of drugs on biological systems
Are there other potential applications that should be on this list? Comment below and we’ll add them to the list!