Stem cells are unique in their ability to divide and regenerate themselves and in their ability to remain specialized or unspecialized in the tasks of the human body. Because of these unique traits, these cells hold a great deal of promise in helping us learn about disease and develop treatments. Many diseases, such as cancer, are the result of uncontrolled cell division, so learning how and why stem cells divide so many times may unlock the mystery of those conditions. The stem cells' regenerative properties may prove useful in developing treatments for conditions including diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson's disease, spinal cord injuries and strokes. To date, though, the ability to research medical treatments using stem cells has been limited because the use of embryonic stem cells is very controversial.
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