segunda-feira, 3 de maio de 2010

Adult Stem Cells...

In adult’s body there are a small number of stem cells in many tissues and organs. These cells remain off until the day that one disease or injury activates them. Unlike embryonic stem cells, adult stem cells aren’t capable of differentiating all cell types. They can only become the cell type belonging to their tissue of origin. An adult stem cell of the brain, for example, can become a neuron, but not a bone cell. So far, adult stem cells can be found in the brain, blood, cornea, retina, heart, adipose tissue, skin, dental pulp, bone marrow, blood vessels, skeletal muscle, intestine and the umbilical cord.

Since 1988 umbilical cord blood transplants have been made, which are considered adult stem cell therapy because cells come from babies, not embryos. Like bone marrow, transplanted since 1968, in umbilical cord blood there is an abundant presence of a type of stem cell capable of giving rise to red blood cells, platelets, white cells and mesenchymal cells that generate bone and cartilage.

In opposition to what happens in a simple blood transfusion, which provides a range of cells destined to die after some time, stem cells from bone marrow or umbilical cord are capable to penetrate the bones and settle down in the bone marrow to produce new blood and immune cells for a lifetime.

The fast scientific and technological development coupled with the study of these cells with huge capacity, has over the years marked the start of a new era of regenerative medicine, allowing the cure of deadly diseases with tissues and organs that are tailored to each of us.

In Portugal, a child diagnosed with a syndrome of severe immune deficiency of T cells (CD8 +) was successfully treated in February 2007, in the Portuguese Institute of Oncology of Porto (IPO), using stem cells from the child’s umbilical cord.

The current results of such investigations prove the possibility that adult stem cells can be administered in some diseases in order to repair the damaged tissues.

These cells are so versatile when collected, processed and used, that they could be “a new hope for life” and perhaps be considered one of the holy grails of modern biology!

sexta-feira, 16 de abril de 2010


The USA authorizes the use of human embryonic stem cells.
Medical officials open new doors for research.

On December 2, 2009 the American medical authorities authorized the use of 13 lines of human embryonic stem cells for public research, the first under the new policy of President Barack Obama, referring to a statement quoted by Lusa. “I’m happy to announce that we already have lines for human embryonic stem cells for the research community under the new policy on the use of these cells” said Francis Collins, Director of North American Health Services.
“According to the regulations, these stem cells are derived from embryos donated through an ethically certified process” added Collins, explaining that the North American Health Services are working to make more of these cells available to federal researchers.

Extracted from

News 02/12/09

Embryonic Stem Cells

In November of 1998, James Thomson, a scientist from the University of Wisconsin in the U.S.A, announced that he had successfully collected cells from embryos from fertility clinics, creating the first line of embryonic stem cells.
Consequently, an intensive study on these cells was started, thus presenting great advantages from the beginning.

Nowadays people begin talking about the study of embryonic stem cells, their potential and which ways they may open in the near future. But what are these cells like actually? Where do they come from?

Embryonic stem cells come from embryos that are created in vitro fertilization. Scientists are working to obtain cells from embryos produced by therapeutic cloning. For example, a nucleus of a skin cell is inserted into an egg whose nucleus has been removed. After five days it’s moved to the middle cell mass of the embryo into a Petri dish with supporting cells. This way, the cells will proliferate and the stem cells will produce millions of undifferentiated cells that will be referred to as a line of embryonic stem cells.

This cell type is able to transform, through cell differentiation, into any cell type because we are dealing with totally undifferentiated cells.
However, the ability of these cells has advantages and disadvantages to scientists who have to prevent the maturation of the cells harvested for further shaping the ill. The cell specialization therefore becomes a challenge because the process needs very complex combinations of growth factors and genetic and chemical signals that only nowadays the researches begin to understand.

The use of embryonic stem cells is far away from being a reality in the near future. However, when all necessary studies are done and when they can be used in the treatment of diverse diseases that allow that, the embryonic stem cells will surely be a hope for life!

quarta-feira, 17 de março de 2010


Biotechnology is a commercial activity (such as construction, textile industry, pharmaceutical company or even tourism). What is fascinating about this activity – biotechnology – is that its products are applicable on all other sectors of economy worldwide. There are biotech products not only in agriculture, textile, mechanical and pharmaceutical industries but also in the environmental area, in fisheries and in everything else that we might remember.
If you want to understand better how bioctechnology is present in all the actions that we do in our daily lives, we challenge you to watch a short video, where you will discover that in our smallest acts, like the jeans that we wear or the fruit that we eat, biotechnological activity is underlying.

segunda-feira, 15 de março de 2010

Our Project

During the 1st term we have focused on the collection of information and in the 2nd term we entered the construction phase of our work.
We have previously defined some aspects that must be noted in our work, such as biotechnology, stem cells, chronic diseases, quality of life, etc…
We are currently dealing with all the documents that we gathered related to our theme but we don’t intend our work to be focused only on the document’s research; we also want to work with people and life cases.
In the beginning of the 2nd term we created the portuguese blog where we posted much information related to the project and where all people can see and learn things that they don’t know yet.
At the end of 2nd term there was the idea of creating an english blog with the same information as the original blog, so that everyone could, hopefully, see and learn something with our work.
We hope you like it.
Thanks for your visit, and come back soon! :)