Embryonic stem cells have been the subject of media outlets, medical circles, and even for some social groups. For the first two, they’ve reported that stem cells hold the key to helping us treat different human medical conditions that have been plaguing us for ages. Conditions like all types of cancers, blindness, and limb regeneration have affected us for many centuries already, but stem cells might hold the key to fixing them.
For social groups, however, they sing a different tune. To them, its use both for research and medical treatments is considered unethical. The history behind this is that embryonic stem cells are derived from, well embryos. Specifically, they are acquired by harvesting stem cells from a few days’ old embryos known as the Blastocysts.
Be that as it may, there is no denying that stem cells have miraculous effects. In fact, it has already treated some of the diseases today such as Type-1 Diabetes, Bone Marrow transplants to cure Patients with Leukemia, among many others.
Despite the many medical treatments we have with the use of embryonic stem cells, scientists believe that we still haven’t managed to tap its full potentials yet.
To this day, this controversial stem cell is still being studied. A team of researchers from Finland has found that certain mechanisms are at play in the regulation of gene expression in Embryonic stem cells.
The researchers have found by that the POLR3G gene regulates the stem cells’ ability to proliferate and regenerate muscle and bone tissue. It still needs further testing, but if we can find how this particular gene plays a role in the expression of the stem cells’ unique traits, we might finally find a way to cure what ails humanity.
What Does This Mean to Us?
Current findings suggest that embryonic stem cells are able to multiply indefinitely and turn into specialized cells in the body. Both of these traits are said to be regulated by a gene (which in this case, the POLR3G). As to how exactly it does this still needs further research, but at least we know what gene is used to regulate the mechanisms of the embryonic stem cells.
This type of cell is also known as Pluripotent Stem Cells because of their unique abilities that I’ve already mentioned. If we can find a way to utilize the POLR3G gene, we might be able to also control Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells as well.
Okay, this might sound confusing already, but I will explain.
Because embryonic stem cells are controversial to use and since it has all of the abilities that researchers will need to come up with better medical treatments, scientists have devised a way to turn adult stem cells (cells that are abundantly found in the bodies of grown-up humans) into pluripotent stem cells that are able to divide and transform into different cell types. This, in turn, is known as the Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell.
Once we know how to manipulate the POLR3G Gene, we might be able to use it to tap into the full potential of the iPS and, in turn, we might come up with a new stem cell that is safe to use without its ethical implications intact.