Stem cells - building blocks of life
What are stem cells?
Stem cells are very unique. They are cells at their youngest stage which means that they can replicate themselves and have the potential to differentiate into several different types of cells. Stem cells are, so to speak, the building blocks of life. Complete human beings develop from the first stem cell, the fertilized egg cell. Stem cells proliferate and differentiate into more than 200 different cell types.
Stem cells develop into a variety of cell types. They carry out important repair processes in the body by creating new cells and tissues.
Stem cells have three special characteristic:
- Stem cells are able to specialize. They can make daughter cells develop into specialized cells after cell division. Thus, they contribute to new blood cells, muscle cells, nerve cells, or b
- one cells being formed constantly.
- Stem cells are able to renew themselves by replication. They can divide and produce a copy with the same properties.
- Stem cells are universal cells. They have not yet developed into cell types with specific functions.
These special characteristics make stem cells so interesting for regenerative medicine and therapeutic application.
Stem cells – all-rounders for regeneration, specialization and repair
Each of the approximately 100,000,000,000,000 (100 billion) cells in the body of an adult originates from one single stem cell – the fertilized egg cell from which an entire human being develops in only nine months. The natural tasks of stem cells are building, regenerating, and repairing. These abilities of stem cells, however, diminish – starting from the fertilized egg cell – already during the fetal development and become continuously less in the course of life. That is why especially young and viable stem cells are of particular interest for medical applications.