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Undergraduate Student Summer Research Fellowship Program for 2010 Embryonic Stem Cell Research and Leukemia

Essay by   •  October 3, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  1,299 Words (6 Pages)  •  1,465 Views

Essay Preview: Undergraduate Student Summer Research Fellowship Program for 2010 Embryonic Stem Cell Research and Leukemia

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Introduction:

The objective of my research is to discover a possible effective treatment for leukemia using embryonic stem cells. Stem cells are cells that have the ability to continuously divide and differentiate into various other types of cells during early life and growth, serving as an internal repair system as long as the person is still living. When a stem cell divides, each new cell can remain a stem cell or become another type of cell with a more specialized function.1

The potential for human tissue engineering, injuries, and other diseases and conditions have been advanced by stem-cell research. Much of this research depends on the investigators' acquisition of human embryos. These cells are those of the very early embryo that have the capacity to differentiate into the placenta, the embryo, and all post-embryonic tissues and organs. They are described as totipotent cells. The cells of central value for stem- cell research are pluripotent cells. The pluripotent cells have two important characteristics. The first one is that they are unspecialized cells that have the potential for self-renewal through cell divison. The second is that they can differentiate into specialized cell types with special functions under certain experimental conditions. 2

The primary sources for cell transplantation are embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells.3 My research will focus on embryonic stem cells.

Stem cells evolve at about 5 to 7 days after fertilization and are derived from the inner cell mass at the blastocyst-stage embryos. These inner cells give rise to the entire body of the organisms, including all of the many specialized cell types of organs. Study by cell removal ends the viability of embryos by which pluripotent embryonic stem cells are derived. This is what raises ethical concerns about deliberately wasting them. 2

Because of the regenerative abilities that stem cells have, they offer new potentials for treating diseases.3

Problem Statement and Research Plan:

Embryonic stem cells are undifferentiated cells which have the ability to give rise to any cell in the body. The issue at hand is there is currently a variety of blood born diseases existing and developing in today's society. Continual research and testing of embryonic stem cells play a major role in the treatment of these diseases. The approach to my research is to perform an experiment to see how effective these embryonic stem cells are as a viable treatment for a specific blood borne disease, leukemia. In order to do this, I am going to perform an experiment to determine whether the embryonic stem cells are able to replace infected leukemia cells.

To perform this experiment, I will need to obtain a sample of cells infected with leukemia and a sample of embryonic stem cells. The leukemia infected cells will be put into a petri dish containing a life sustaining medium to prevent the death of the cells. The embryonic stem cells will be added to this petri dish. After both types of cells are added, the petri dish will sit for a week.

During this week, the petri dish will be observed daily, under a dissecting microscope, looking to see if the infected cells have been copied and replaced in any way by the embryonic stem cells. In order to view the cells inside the petri dish, it will be necessary to use a heat shield in order to protect the cells from the heat of the lights of the dissecting microscope. Too much heat may result in the death of the cells. The heat shield will be made from two petri dishes filled with water and taped together to keep the water inside. The observations will be recorded, detailing the process. This experiment will be repeated four times to ensure accuracy.

Timeline:

Preparation for experiment January 10, 2011

Extract leukemia cells January 10, 2011

Obtain Embryonic Stem Cells January 10, 2011

Perform Experiment January 11, 2011

Analyze Results January

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