• Question: do you think that we will be able to make new limbs and organs out of peoples own stem cells in the future?

    Asked by anna101 to Adam, Amylou, Mark L, Samantha on 14 Jun 2012.
    • Photo: Amy Evans

      Amy Evans answered on 14 Jun 2012:

      Hi anna101,

      I think this could well be possible yes. Stem cells are cells that have the potential to become a range of different types of cell, depending on what scientists do to them. They can become fat cells, or bone cells, blood cells or muscle cells for example. Stem cells keep dividing so they can produce more and more cells from starting of with just one.

      It may be possible that we could take stem cells, treat them so that they become, for example, healthy heart muscle cells and then transplant these heart muscle cells into someone with heart disease. The as they keep dividing and replicating, more and more healthy heart cells are present which might be good for that person with heart disease.

      There is a lot of research going on at the moment into how we can use stem cells to repair and grow tissues. The is still quite a lot of work to be done before we can grow new limbs but very recently a girl had her stem cells taken out, scientists used them to ‘grow’ a new vein becuse one of her veins was blocked, the doctors then put the new vein into her body and took out the blocked vein…and she got better. A great example of how science helps to make people’s lives better don’t you think?!