Faculty Advisor

Adams, David S.

Abstract

Stem cells are multipotent cells that have the capacity to differentiate into a variety of cell types. Because of this capacity, stem cells have the ability to replace damaged tissue, and thus have been used for therapeutic purposes in both animals and humans. The public often thinks of stem cells in only one way, embryonic stem (ES) cells and assumes scientists are destroying "life" when they work with them. However, there are a variety of types of stem cells and a variety of sources that do not involve ES cells. The purpose of this IQP is to investigate this highly controversial topic of stem cells, researching what they are, where we get them, what they can be used for, and the impact of this new technology on society (the ethics and legal issues associated with their use). Following our investigation, the authors conclude that stem cells have enormous medical potential for curing many different kinds of diseases and feel that research should proceed cautiously on all stem cell types, including those with the most medical potential, the ES cell.

Publisher

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

January 2003

Project Type

Interactive Qualifying Project

Accessibility

Restricted-WPI community only

Advisor Department

Biology and Biotechnology

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