Stem cells are important for living organisms for many reasons. In the human body, they serve as a repair system for the wear and tear that occurs throughout our lives. When a stem cell divides, it can either remain a stem cell or turn into a more specialized cell, such as a skin cell, muscle cell, or bone cell.
Stem cells are undifferentiated cells that have the ability to differentiate into multiple cell types. In other words, stem cells can give rise to indefinitely more cells of the same type, making them a renewable resource. There are two main types of stem cells: embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells.
Embryonic stem cells come from embryos that are three to five days old. Adult stem cells are found in various tissues throughout the body, including the bone marrow, skin, and brain. Embryonic stem cells have the ability to differentiate into any type of cell in the body. This makes them useful for treating a wide variety of diseases and injuries.
Adult stem cells, on the other hand, are more limited in the types of cells they can become. However, they have the advantage of being less likely to be rejected by the body's immune system. The use of stem cells is a controversial topic, as there are ethical concerns associated with the destruction of human embryos. However, there are also many potential benefits of stem cell research, such as the treatment of diseases and injuries that are currently incurable.
Immunotherapy is a type of treatment that uses the body's immune system to fight cancerous cells. It is sometimes used in combination with other treatments, such as surgery, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy. Immunotherapy can be divided into two main types: active immunotherapy and passive immunotherapy.
Active immunotherapy involves stimulating the body's own immune system to fight mutated cells. This can be done by using substances that are made by the body, such as antibodies, or by using man-made substances that mimic these substances. Passive immunotherapy, on the other hand, involves giving the body's immune system pre-made substances that will help it fight mutated cells.
Immunotherapy is a relatively new type of treatment, and more research is needed to determine its effectiveness. However, it holds promise as a potential treatment for a wide variety of cancers.
Clinical trials are research studies that test new treatments in humans. These treatments may be drugs, medical devices, or other therapies. The purpose of clinical trials is to find out if a new treatment is safe and effective. Clinical trials are an important step in the development of new treatments.
Before a new treatment can be approved for use, it must go through several phases of testing. In phase I clinical trials, a small group of people are given the treatment to see if it is safe. If the treatment is found to be safe, it moves on to phase II clinical trials, where a larger group of people are given the treatment to see if it is effective.
Experts discuss the process and review the future of different forms of treatment and the cost associated with them. During the final quarter of the Stanford Mini Med School, some of the most timely and important topics in contemporary medicine and the biosciences are addressed.
Stanford Mini Med School is a series arranged and directed by Stanford's School of Medicine and presented by the Stanford Continuing Studies program. Philip Beachy, Ph.D., and Ron Levy, Ph.D. discuss different approaches to cancer therapy, research, and clinical trials, such as drug, antibody, and stem cell therapies.