Tuesday, February 11, 2020

The 2012 Nobel prize in Physiology and Medicine was awarded for the Essay

The 2012 Nobel prize in Physiology and Medicine was awarded for the work leading to the discovery of induced pluripotent stem cells. Why was this break-through so important - Essay Example The discovery that it is possible to reprogram somatic cells to return to their earlier pluripotent state has, however, offered a way around some of these ethical concerns. These reprogrammed somatic cells are referred to as induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) and they show remarkable similarities embryonic stem cells. In addition, they also present a new and exciting research area, especially since it has the potential to transform fields such as regenerative medicine and developmental biology (Yildirim, 2013: p16). ES and iPS cells show remarkable similarities in that they are self renewing, which means that they are able to divide and indefinitely produce other copies of themselves (Yildirim, 2013: p42). Therefore, iPS cells can be used for the derivation of all types of specialized cells in the lab under conditions that are precisely controlled. Just like ES cells, iPS cells can aid in the understanding of how pluripotent cells develop into specialized cells and, in the future, they may provide unlimited supplies of tissues and cells to replace diseased ones in patients with diseases that are currently incurable. However, unlike ES cells, generation of iPS cells is not dependent on cells from embryos created earlier (Yildirim, 2013: p42). This means that the biggest barrier to stem cell research, i.e. the ethics of using live embryos for research, can be circumvented. In the development of disease therapy, the most important step involves understanding the exact workings of the disease, as well the exact aspects of bodily functions that go wrong. In order to do this, tissues and cells are required for study, especially those that are diseased. However, it is very difficult to obtain genuine cells from the brain of a Parkinson’s disease patient, particularly in the earlier stages during which the patient is unaware of their symptoms (Yildirim, 2013: p47).

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