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Stem Cell Research Applications

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Presentation on theme: "Stem Cell Research Applications"— Presentation transcript:

1 Stem Cell Research Applications
Year 13 –Biotechnology

2 Learning Intentions Today we will:
Define Stem Cell Research, compare with Cloning. Watch a video on Stem Cell Research and complete the guided video sheet Examine the Human need or demand Discuss ethical considerations and examine alternatives. (tomorrow we will focus on process of producing cells and related techniques)

3 What are Stem Cells? Cells that have not yet become specialized to do particular jobs (undifferientated) At birth we have approx 20 billion cells, as an adult we have trillion! Most are specialised in shape and function - i.e nerve, blood, muscle, liver, skin, brain etc... Red blood cdells have no nucleus adn this gives them a sunken appearence, red colour is from haemoglobin. Nerve cells – message is sent along from cell body – along axon (some up to 1meter in length) towards the dendrites. Message is then passed to neigbhouring nerve cells.

4 Types of Stem Cells There are several types of stem cells.
Two categories EMBRYONIC or ADULT. Embryonic cells are found within embryos. The stem cells are pluripotent at 4-8 days old(capable of becoming many different cell types). They are removed during this stage. Stem cells can divide and produce copies of themselves again and again, this continues throughout the life of the organism


6 Genes ‘on’ or ‘off’ DNA in unspecialized cell is the same is specialised cells. Some genes are switched on or off (nerve cells diff to liver cells) The active genes are those needed for cell function (i.e to express proteins etc)

7 How is this different to cloning?
A clone is an exact copy of a plant/animal/person comes from one parent and has EXACT genes Cloning is not new – vegetative propagation (i.e. tubers, runners), asexual reproduction in micro-organisms, identical twins (natural clones) They have different goals, but are sometimes confused. Modern techniques: both use embryonic stem cells both use SCNT – SOMATIC CELL NUCLEAR TRANSFER as a process and some scientists use term therapeutic cloning to describe their work Clone – Greek word for clone is twig Micro-organisms reproduce this way when conditions are ideal, plenty of food.

8 Dolly – Dorset Ewe Clone
First cloning of Adult Cell – udder cell from one sheep was modified and inserted into empty ovum, transplanted to surrogate – 1996 (died 2004) Dolly identical to donor of udder cell. Concern – DNA age, reduced lifespan (Dolly started with 6 year old donor DNA). High mortality rate of clones – possibly tiny changes to genes effect essential proteins. Early clone research 1950’s using frog eggs/DNA from tadpoles – no success with cells from adult frog. The goal of this project was to create clones of transgenic animal to produce drugs for human use. The techniques lead to great progress in Stem Cell Research

9 Goals of SCR The goal of cloning is to use Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer to create a new person/animal (reproductive cloning) The goal of SCR is to use Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer to create ESC and tissues to cure diseases and disorders. Therapeutic cloning is now often called NUCLEAR TRANSFER to avoid this confusion.

10 Somatic cells vs Germ Cells
Restrictions on SCR - GERM LINE cells (sperm/eggs) are not modified, only Somatic cells Modifications die with the individual.

11 VIDEO - Rebuilding the Brain.
Now that we have defined what Stem Cells are, we will look at video BUILDING THE BRAIN This will look at: Cell types & characteristics Location of cells How they are isolated Problems with culturing cells. Please use the Student Response sheet to guide your note taking during the video. Prepare to discuss. Discuss Michael J Fox, advocate for Parkinsons

12 Applications Skin cells - creating new tissue for burn victims
Bone marrow – fighting leukaemia and other cancers (since 70’s) Corneas – repairing blindness Heart stem cells – repair damage, heart disease Researching use of nerve cells – treatments for paralysis or brain disorders (Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Multiple Sclerosis) Pancreas cells – produce healthy insulin making pancreas cells to cure diabetes Studying the progression of diseases in cells in vitro and trial drugs Potentially any treatment where cells die or are damaged. In Parkinsons, the brain cells stop producing dopamine – chemical that helps the body control muscles (tremours and shaking) – 1million Americans suffer from this disease. Michael J Fox strong advocate for SCR. (sheet of cells is dropped on eye, held in place, dissolves away - Presence of stem cells on cornea triggers the eye to repair itself.

13 Fighting paralysis Repairing spinal cord injuries.
In 2000, John Hopkins experimented with paralysed mice/rats, injected A.S.C into spinal fluid, over half showed functional improvement (5-7% cells appeared to differentiate into Nerve Cells) Christopher Reeve was a supporter of these experiments he urged politicians and others to fund SCR Christopher Reeve was a supporter of these experiments, he was paralyzed after falling from a horse in 1995. He frequently urged politicians and others to fund stem cell research.


15 Using Embryos First frogs/mice, now donated human embryos not implanted in IVF treatments. Discussion between scientists /politicians / the public Many concerns about ethics of this work such as rights of the embryo – protection/rights of an individual, should not be destroyed solely for medical research. Recent research now points towards removal of stem cells without destroying blastocyst/ embryo. Growing SC in the lab reduces need to use embryos. Twinning can still occur at this stage – interesting point – the blastocyst is not yet an ‘individual’ as could be twins. Is it ethical to allow an embryo to be destroyed if the stem cells gained from it could help another person already in existance? Some cultures/religions find ESC research permissable, i.e place emphasis on finding cures and easing pain and suffering. ‘’The salient principle of Jewish Law is that life is precious and that any action that will protect life is permissable. Some cultures do not believe an embryo is a human before 40 days old. Is it ethical to destroy IVF embryos and NOT use them for research? Waste? It is estimated there are up to 400,000 frozen stored surplus embryos in the US.

16 Ethical Framework Rights and duties Weighing the benefits/harms of
Revisiting the four commonly used frameworks Rights and duties Weighing the benefits/harms of the consequences Autonomy and the right to choose Considering whether the outcome is “virtuous” or not. Autonomy The ability to make decisions for oneself. A person acts autonomously when such decisions can be put into effect. Duties Things each of us ought to do. For example, if you have a baby, you have the duty to look after it. A virtue is something that the community accepts as being “good” or “right”. For example, honesty is a virtue.

17 High potential.. Hope for the medical potential of this research is may provide cures to any number of diseases and disorders that are currently intractable to other forms of treatment...stem cells may produce revolutionary changes in medicine seen only rarely in human history’’ David E Newton (Science writer) These tiny cells, hold the promise to treat and potentially cure diseases and disorders that have troubled all of our lives” Christopher Reeve

18 New laws UK Government passed law to regulate use of SC.
Embryos can be used up to 14 days old, then must be destroyed, Law does allow researchers to produce embryos for specific projects (although majority are still from IVF) In other European countries, they cannot produce embryos for research - Avoiding these laws – using ASC or umbilical cord cells. In America, government funding was not approved for any research involving destroying human embryos (Obama lifted Bush’s 8 year restriction on federal funding March 2009) In New Zealand, strict regulations still govern research into stem cell therapies

19 Could stem cells cause cancer?
Like cancer cells, SC divide repeatedly, but SC divide in a controlled way. There is concern that something may go wrong and SC may start causing cancer in a patient. Observations in the lab show that SC gradually gain abnormal chromosomes (over long period of time). Care must be taken to ensure normal cells are injected.

20 Current and Future research
Research into turning specialist cells back into ASC (turning back the clock) likened to natural regeneration in animals Nanog – protein found in ESC in mice. Role - keep SC dividing, this is not found in ASC. It is suspected that this may be one of the reasons why ASC do not divide as such as ESC. Some scientists believe this may help them understand the process of aging in the body - prolong life/treat elderly. Research around the world is edging towards using ESC in Humans

21 Stem cell breakthrough
(5min) Now a revolutionary method of creating stem cells—without embryos—may pave the way to swifter progress in the effort to understand and cure diseases.

22 SC Issues in Organ Transplants
Doctors need to be able to: Grow healthy SC in lab Produce sufficient quantities for tissues/transplant etc (alternative transgenesis/cloning/XT) Control growth of SC so they produce the right kind of cell. Ensure that SC survive in the patient after transplant Make sure new SC become part of the surrounding tissue after transplant Ensure ES will work properly for the rest of the patients life Make sure the SC will not harm the patient.

23 Discovery of Stem Cells
For more than a 100 years, scientists had wondered how cells in an embryo could give rise to all the specialized cells in the body. In 1953 Roy Stevens discovered SC in cancerous growths on mice (called Terotoma) Terotomas are tumours that can grow bits of muscle, bone, skin and in rare cases even teeth Under the microscope he found a few plain cells in the middle which would later become known as Stem Cells

24 Fighting for research – M.J.Fox

25 Additional resource differences between cloning and SCR
(Interactive, some links to XT and SCR – min)

26 History 1953 - Evidence of stem cells in mice (Roy Stevens)
1981 – Evidence of E.S.C in Mice (Uni California & Uni Cambridge) 1988 – Isolated A.S.C in mice (Irving Weissman -Stanford Uni) 1992 – Isolated A.S.C in human blood (Stanford Uni) 1998 – Major breakthrough - E.S.C removed from embryo and grown in lab (James Thomson – Uni of Wisconsin) Since this time there have been many breakthroughs in labs around the world

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