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Sunday, January 13, 2013

13 January 2013

Concluding our week-long discussion on Health and Diet, today's discussion is that of the big C - and how stem cells possess the properties to both fight and proliferate cancer growth.

Lately we've been hearing a lot about stem cells. A lot.
There are two types of stem cells; embryonic stem cells (from an embyro, before mitosis occurs) and parent stem cells (pretty much all the other base cells before they develop into mature cells of various kinds).

Stem cells possess three distinct characteristics which make them significant in the battle against cancer - depending on which side they fight for.

  1. They have remarkable self-renewal properties
  2. They have the capability to develop into multiple lineages
  3. They have the ability to proliferate very extensively
Think about the potential of such cells. Think about how regenerative they can be for anything from scar tissue to skin cell repair to organ repair to slowing down cancerous malignancy.
Now think about if one of these stem cells became mutated into a cancerous cell. Imagine how difficult it would be to manage, imagine how aggressive it can get and imagine trying to kill every single cancerous stem cell. 
Herein lies the duality of stem cells in the context of cancer.

I've found myself digging into medical journals for information on stem cells, haemopoietic process and their capacity for cell regeneration and repair.
Needless to say, my commerce/law background didn't help me get my head around half of it. In a defeatist manner, I resorted to getting back to basics and found the following link.

Today's Daily Quota is a link to the Stem Cells Australia - an organisation dedicated to keeping its subscribers up-to-date in the latest in relevant news. They've got some great introductions to stem cells, a handy RSS feed with the latest news and a generally intuitive layout.
It's not much, but it helped me wrap my head around the basics. 
You've gotta crawl before you can walk.

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