What are stem cells?
Stem cells are often referred to as the “building blocks of life”, as they build, repair and regenerate human body tissues. An adult human has around 100 trillion individual body cells, which can be divided into 200 different cell types. They all emerge from a single stem cell - the fertilized egg cell. That a whole person - a new living being - develops from this in just 40 weeks of pregnancy is a miracle of nature.
After the egg cell has been fertilized, cell division begins at a rapid pace. Within three to four days, the zygote develops into the blastocyst - and from it the embryo. Within this short period of time, stem cells are “all-rounders” that are able to develop into any specific cell type. This ability diminishes as the embryonic cells divide. Cell development becomes a one-way street in which each cell type has a specific function. First, embryonic stem cells become fetal stem cells and later on adult stem cells. These adult stem cells can renew inflamed or injured organs and body tissues to a certain extent and thus repair damage. In doing so, they take on an important task in the human body up to its death.