On November 5, 1998 Wisconsin University biologist James Thompson isolated the first human embryonic stem cell. After isolating this particular cell the biological world of stem cells seemed more the less astonishing. There are many views upon these particular types of cells, not just adult stem cells, but embryonic stem cells. The opportunities that surround embryonic stem cells shock the people of today. .
When embryonic stem cells were first isolated in November of 1998 they were known as blank cells. This means that they can be manipulated into any of the 220 human cells, and tissues that we as humans are comprised of. These cells have brought up the idea of gene therapy. This could lead to cures for paralysis, diabetes, and AIDS.
With the use of embryonic stem cells, scientists believe that nerve cells, heart muscle cells, and brain cells can be created in a culture. In turn, using the nerve cells to help heal people with spinal injuries and restore function to paralyzed limbs. The heart muscle cells would be used to renew the scar tissue around the heart after a heart attack. The brain cells would be used to secrete dopamine for the treatment and control of Parkinson's disease. .
The process in which it takes to achieve embryonic stem cells is rather simple. The biologists took a sperm sample, and an egg sample. Then they fertilized them in a petri dish for several days, eventually becoming a ball of cells. This ball of cells is called a blastocyst. They then retrieve special cells within the blastocyst and cultured those to produce stem cells. After the cells have taken over the culture dish the scientist's then split them up into other culture dishes. This is known as sub-culturing. Each cycle of sub-cultured cells is called a passage. After about 180 days (6 months) or more, the original 30 cells of the inner cell mass yield millions of embryonic stem cells. With this method, the scientist's can endlessly create any amount of embryonic stem cells that they need.