As more and deeper researches are being done into cancer stem cells, the evidences suggest that cancer stem cells play a critical role in promoting tumor growth, malignant progression, therapeutic resistance and tumor recurrence.  These very reasons have them a target for researchers to develop new treatments in order to combat them.

Thus, Lerner Research Institute announced recently about the formation of the new cancer stem cells research entity, Center For Cancer Stem Cell Research, the goal of this research center establishment is to have a better understanding of CSC, the subset of cancer cells that particularly aggressive and resistant to treatment.

The new research center will become the new home for many Lerner researchers as well as from Taussig Cancer Institutes to study the role of CSC in  cancers of brain, colon, rectum, breast, lung, bone marrow and more.

Bolstering The Portfolio And Efforts

With the establishment of the new research center that is solely dedicated into researching CSC, it is greatly hope to help collaboration and expedite from research to clinical trials stage. Example, a finding from laboratory of Shindeng Bao, PhD, the center’s Director, is now in clinical trial stage, which demonstrates the scientific and clinical impact Center For Cancer Stem Cell Research will have.

The very same lab also discovered that ibrunitib, a type of drug which has been approved by the U.S Food And Drug Administration to treat lymphoma and leukemia, may be effective in treating glioblastoma (GBM), the most lethal primary brain tumor by targeting CSC related pathway. The research immediately moved from lab to clinical trial in order to test ibrunitib effective treating GMB when combined together with radiation or chemotherapy.

Aside cancer stem cells which currently being research closely, there normal or beneficial stem cells also being research so that it may be use an alternative to combat serious diseases such as cancer

Stem cells therapy or treatment can say be that it is still in its infancy, early stages of development and clinical applications, hence there are still much to learn and only so few clinics offer certified and safe stem cell treatments.

That is why before jumping in and getting a stem cells treatment, you should at least have the knowledge what is stem cells. So that you’ll know what you will be getting into.

We’re not getting into the super-deep level knowledge about stem cells, but just enough.

So, the basic is; there are 5 types of stem cells commonly known as most powerful in stem cells research. And they’re:

  • Totipotent (or Omnipotent) Stem Cells
  • Pluripotent Stem Cells
  • Multipotent Stem Cells
  • Oligopotent Stem Cells
  • Unipotent Stem Cells

Totipotent Stem Cells

These stem cells are the most powerful stem cells in existence, as they able to shift into embryonic, and extra-embryonic tissues such chorion, yolk sac, amnion and allantois. These tissues form placentas in human and placental animals.

It’s main and most important characteristic is that it can form and generate living and fully functioning organisms.

Here is the example for totipotent stem cells; a fertilized egg which formed when the sperm and egg fused to form zygote.

After about four days after post-fertilization these cells will shift and specialize into pluripotent cells, a flexible type of cells but they’re unable to produce a fully living organism.

Pluripotent Stem Cells

This cell is crucial as it able to differentiate and self-renew into the three different germ layer; ectoderm, endoderm and mesoderm. Then, these three germ layers will differentiate further to forming all organs and tissues in a human being.

Several types of pluripotent stem cells are known. In all of pluripotent stem cells, the embryonic cells are the best. But there are man-made pluripotent also exists, which is known as induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS).

iPS cells were first produce from mouse cells 2006 and human cells in 2007, are tissue-specific cells that can be programmed to function similarly to embryonic stem cells.

Due to their ability to differentiate in a wide variety of tissues and their not controversial nature, the induced pluripotent stem cells are suited for therapies and regenerative treatments.

Multipotent Stem Cells

This particular type of stem cells are middle-ranged type of stem cell, that can self-renew and differentiate into different and specific type of cells.

An example of this type of cell is the mesenchymal stem cell (MSC). The mesenchymal stem cell can differentiate into osteoblast (a type of bone cell), myocytes (muscle cells) adipocytes (fat cell), and chondrocytes (cartilage cells).

Each of the cells stated are diverse in their characteristics, the reason why mesenchymal stem cells are considered and classified as multipotent stem cells.

Oligopotent Stem Cells

The oligopotent stem cells are similar to the multipotent stem cells, but they become further restricted in their ability and capacity to differentiate.

They only able to differentiate but only to an extent, yet they’re still able to self-renew. Their ability to differentiate is only to closely related cells, unlike multipotent stem cells.

The best example is the hematopoietic stem cells (HSC)

Mesoderm is what HSC derived from, and mesoderm able to differentiate into other blood cells. To be exact, HSC is oligopotent stem cells that have the capacity to differentiate into different both myeloid and lymphoid cells.

Myeloid cells include basophils, macrophages, dendritic cells, eosinophil, erythrocytes, monocytes, megakaryocytes, platelets and neutrophils. Meanwhile, lymphoid cells include B cells, T cells and natural killer cells.

Unipotent Cells

This is the least potent a and most limited cells type out of all stem cells.

The best example for this type of cells would be, muscle cells.

Muscle cells still able to self-renew and differentiate, but they only can differentiate into a single type of cell.