By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 21 Feb 2019| *Discuss

Although stem cells have defining characteristics, they do have different sources. Adult stem cells, also called somatic stem cells, possess the same basic characteristics of all stem cells. An adult stem cell is an unspecialised cell that is capable of:

Another goal is to develop insulin-producing cells for diabetes. With heart attacks causing enormous morbidity and mortality each year, it is also hoped that adult stem cells can repair damage to the heart.

The use of adult stem cells is more widely accepted, particularly by the public, because it does not require destruction of an embryo as with embryonic stem cells. Adult stem cells also don't have the same immunological challenges as embryonic stem cells because they are harvested from the patient. This means that a person's body is less likely to reject the stem cells because they are compatible with that person's unique physiological makeup.

Overall, adult stem cells don't pose the same ethical concerns and controversy in comparison with embryonic stem cells, but their practical challenges are numerous. As scientists continue to seek ways to effectively harvest adult stem cells, the public can await new treatments for some of the more serious and common diseases.

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Adult Stem Cells

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