This project describes current stem cell technology and demonstrates its importance in the rapidly developing field of cellular-based therapeutics. As a precursor to all other cell types, stem cells have enormous potential in a variety of applications. Detailed analysis of specific stem cells was performed, including an investigation of their source, characteristics, culturing methods in vivo and in vitro, plasticity, and therapeutic advantages. The role of federal funding for US research centers was also assessed and compared with international regulations. This project was developed in layman's terms as a guide for understanding the types and uses of stem cells. Based on this research, it is concluded that stem cell technology has therapeutic potential in a number of treatment areas including cancers, immunodeficiency, neurological disorders and genetic diseases. However, on account of the ethical issues associated with the use of cells derived from embryos, and the accompanying outcry for stringent federal regulations, the rapid deployment of clinical therapies may be delayed.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Interactive Qualifying Project
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