Adult stem cells can be isolated from bone marrow and grown in culture under specific conditions. These conditions include the presence of specific growth factors and the use of specialized culture vessels that promote the attachment and growth of stem cells.
Once the stem cells are established in culture, they can be induced to differentiate into specialized cells by changing the culture conditions. For example, the addition of specific growth factors or the use of specialized culture media can direct the stem cells to differentiate into specific cell types, such as blood cells, nerve cells, or muscle cells.
The process of stem cell differentiation can be monitored using various techniques, such as gene expression analysis, microscopy, or flow cytometry. Once the differentiated cells have been produced, they can be harvested for use in various applications, such as regenerative medicine or drug discovery.
Two scientists who established the field of stem cell research are James A. Thomson and Shinya Yamanaka. James A. Thomson was the first to isolate and culture human embryonic stem cells in 1998, while Shinya Yamanaka developed the induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technology, which allows for the reprogramming of adult cells into a pluripotent stem cell state.