It’s estimated that 1 in 3 of us will need a stem cell transplant in our lifetime.
What are stem cells?
Stem cells are essential for the normal health and functioning of the body, during both development and adulthood. For a biological cell to be classified as a stem cell, it must possess two main characteristics:
1. The ability to make copies of themselves. (Stem cells can replicate to keep making more stem cells indefinitely, under the right conditions.)
2. The ability to mature and differentiate into a specialised cell type that has a function relevant to a specific part of the body. (Stem cells are constantly maturing into functional cells within our body, allowing the replacement of old dying cells with new ones.)
The ability of stem cells to replicate and mature into functional cells can be utilised in the fields of regenerative and experimental medicine, in order to restore or repair damaged tissues and organs.