Stem Cells
Stem Cells

Stem Cells


Do stem cells offer a viable strategy for confronting the aging process?


Stem cells are cells that, in cell cultures at least, have the ability to divide forever. They also have the capacity to develop into specialized populations of cells. Early research using stem cells from embryos has been controversial, and discussions around the ethical dimensions of using these cells continues in many countries.


New research suggests that even adult stem cells (whose use evokes fewer ethical dilemmas) may have the capacity to mature into almost any cell type the body might need. This flexibility suggests that even these adult stem cells may be used in a variety of ways to heal or even regenerate damaged tissue and confront many of the diseases and conditions associated with aging. 


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Reviewer: Anne Brunet, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Genetics, Stanford University