Scientists and researchers have diligently tried to find a cure for many diseases such as cancer, renal failure, diabetes and liver diseases. There are many medical discoveries that vastly helped in the development of many pharmaceutical and therapeutical paradigms. Interestingly, the discovery of stem cells has gained a lot of attention due to their promising capabilities for treating many incurable diseases.
Stem cells are unspecialized cells that have the ability to differentiate into specialized somatic cells such as liver, muscle, blood and other cell types with specialized functions. Stem cells are also characterized by their infinite proliferative properties and hence act as reparative machinery to replace dead and malfunctioning cells.
Stem cell research is now considered one of the most reckoned medical research aspects as scientists have successfully transplanted stem cells and enticed them to differentiate into specialized cells for the treatment of different disease conditions. These specialized cells may also be used in vitro disease modeling to study and discover the effects of different pharmaceutical compounds.
One of the forefront applications of stem cell therapy is cancer treatment. The mesenchymal stem cells natural ability to head towards and infiltrate cancer niche has allowed researchers to genetically modify them to secrete cell death proteins. For example, tumor necrosis factor that can selectively target cancer cells and thus not attacking healthy cells, adds more value to using stem cells as cellular vehicles.
KACST plays a pioneering and fundamental role in establishing research partnerships with several advanced research centers around the globe to reach innovative therapies for different diseases that are becoming more prevalent in the Kingdom such as diabetes, obesity, and cancer, by using applications of stem cells research that have attained unprecedented global attention. Therefore, KACST has founded a national center specializing in stem cell research - the National Center for Stem Cell Technology “NCSCT”. The NCSCT will drive advanced applied research in stem cell and regenerative medicine through the creation of partnerships with different national research centers with main focus on technology transfer and localization, in pursuit of Vision 2030.