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Stem cells represent an exciting frontier with a lot of potential to change science and medicine.
Embryonic stem cells are the starter cells of the human body. They are undifferentiated, which means they have not matured and specialized, and they are able to become any other kind of cell in the body.
In embryos, these cells multiply and differentiate to become organs, bones and muscles. In the laboratory, they can be multiplied to create stem cell lines for study or for therapy.
Scientists harvest embryonic stem cells from three- to five-day-old embryos donated by people who have gone through in-vitro fertilization. Scientists isolated the first human embryonic stem cells in 1998.
But they often make headlines like this: Three women at a Florida clinic were visually impaired by a stem cell vision treatment procedure.
What are stem cells capable of doing? What kinds of regulations are in place around them?
- Jeanne Loring Director, The Center for Regenerative Medicine, The Scripps Research Institute; @jeannefrances
- Leigh Turner Associate Professor, Center for Bioethics, University of Minnesota; @LeighGTurner
- Erin Allday Health reporter, San Francisco Chronicle; @erinallday
- Dr. Victor Ibrahim Director of Research, Regenerative Orthopedics & Sports Medicine
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