Stem cells have an interesting, and somewhat controversial history. Stem cell research can be traced in the beginning of 1800s with the discovery that some cells could generate other cells. Cells were basically the building blocks of life. This became the start of a medical research towards discovering different aspects of adult stem cell treatment and therapy, whether it is for humans or for animals, like canines.
The history of stem cell research includes work with both animal and human stem cells. Based on their discovery stem cells have three broad categories, (1) totipotent stem cells are found only in early embryo, (2) pluripotent stem cells exist in the undifferentiated inner cell mass of the blastocyst and can form any of the over 200 different cell types found in the body and (3) multipotent stem cells are derived from fetal tissue, cord blood, and adult stem cells.
Early 1900s marked the time when attempts were being made to fertilize mammalian eggs outside of the human body. Because of these attempts, scientists and researchers were able to discover that some cells had the ability to generate blood cells.
Some early attempts include several transplants carried out in France following a radiation accident in the late 1950s. Performing marrow transplants in humans was not attempted on a larger scale until a French medical researcher made a critical medical discovery about the human immune system. In 1958 Jean Dausset identified the first of many human histocompatibility antigens. These proteins are called human leukocyte antigens. These HLS antigens give the body’s immune system the ability to determine what belongs in the body and what does not belong.
In 1968, the first bone marrow transplant was performed to successfully treat two siblings with severe immunodeficiency. Other key events in the stem cell research include the time when stem cells were discovered in human cord blood in 1978. In vitro stem cell line development can also be attributed to stem cell research. The first in vitro stem cell lines were developed from mice in 1981, while, in 1988 embryonic stem cell lines were created from a hamster.
The primate came next when embryonic stem cell was derived from them in 1995. The year 1997 has such an impact, since it was the first time the a lamb was cloned from stem cells. Researches and discoveries continued until in 1998 to 1999 when James Thompson began to discover the adult mouse tissues could produce different cell types. Meaning, the cells from the bone marrow can produce nerve, liver, or brain cells. This excited the world over the stem cell research. The most recent discovery about stem cells was made in 2005. Kingston University (England) scientists were said to have discovered another category of stem cells. They originated in the umbilical cord blood as is called cord blodd embryonic-like stem cells. It is suggested that these stem cells have the ability to differentiate into more cell types than adult stem cells.
Nowadays, canines are among the successful recipient of the adult stem cell studies. But each year, there are advances on the adult stem cell researches. Adult stem cells are also being used not to treat heart diseases and leukemia. The potential is great, but it would take a while and a lot of studies before scientists and doctors get to control the regulation of stem cells. It would take a while before we get to harness the stem cell’s full potential to save many lives.