Thesis live: 1.1 Basic concepts: Let’s roll!

In the live thesis building blogxperiment I edit (digest, compile, write, rewrite, delete) my ongoing doctoral thesis in blog posts and put the parts together on thesis live. The title: The physiologic role of stem cells in tissues with different regenerative potential.

After the Introduction draft it’s time to actually start to fill in the text and that’s really the hard part. In the text I mix complete sentences, paragraphs (source code, object language) with fragmented metacomments (labeled as /draft, comments are here/) as a GTD technique. Used literature, links come after the text in a reference form like: Rando TA. Stem cells, ageing and the quest for immortality. Nature 2006;441:1080-1086. or Rando TA. (2006) Stem cells, ageing and the quest for immortality. Nature 441:1080-1086. (maybe I should check the official rules here)

Figures, diagrams will be included and I don’t promise to figure out brand new ones (but promise to find good ones), but that’s not a necessary job for thesis writers.

Expect me to start with a low quality (including older texts of mine) material and progress toward something more valuable.That is a trend people usually would like to follow throughout their professional careers.

1.1 Stem cells and regenerative medicine: basic concepts

Looking for the exact definition of stem cell is sometimes the source of endless semantical debates, but at least we do know two generally accepted criteria: stem cells are able to renew themselves and could differentiate into other type of cells. First, they are unspecialized, mitotic cells that renew themselves for any (i.e. long) periods through series of cell divisions, which result in similar unspecialized stem cells. This is the so called and overstated “immortality” characteristics. The other side of the stem cell coin is that under certain physiologic or experimental conditions, they can be induced to become differentiated cells with special functions such as the contractile cells of the striatal muscle or the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas. So stem cells are those cells, which give rise to an identical, undifferentiated, mitotic stem cell and a more specialised cell with another phenotype through an asymmetric cell division. The resulting progenitor cells mature into functional, specialised cells of the organism. What kind of cells they could be, is partly the function of the developmental potential of the cells and the local environment, where these cells anchor.

/Other basic concepts to be explained here: turnover, embryonic, placental, adult stem cells, progenitor cells, niche, components of niche, uni-, multi-, pluripotency, regeneration, tissue engineering/

Regenerative medicine is the science and technology built around stem cells’ regenerative capacity. This is a whole new concept compared to the traditional medicine: the aim is to facilitate and amplify or replace the native regenerative potential of the organism, the targeted tissue or organ based on the results of developmental biology and biotechnology. Classical medicine focuses on the patomechanism of the illness, the elimination of cell death, and tissue protection, while regenerative research does not care about the causes of the injury, and its aim is not to eliminate the harmful effects of the injury, but to replace, and renew the damaged function.

Literature, links: Stem cells and regenerative medicine (very short introduction)

One thought on “Thesis live: 1.1 Basic concepts: Let’s roll!

Comments are closed.