Recent Blog Articles

Stem cells and the prostate

Updated: January 01, 2010


Mention stem cells, and many people think of divisive ethical controversies and heated political debates. Indeed, stem cell research has crucial ethical dimensions. Leaving moral complexities aside, though, the basic research is fascinating and important in its own right. And although the prostate lags far behind other areas of stem cell science, reports suggest that stem cells may someday assume a role in the diagnosis and treatment of prostate diseases.

What are stem cells?

Just as the stem of a plant gives rise to other structures, stem cells give rise to all the other cells in the body. Stem cells are undifferentiated, or unspecialized, cells that are able to renew and regenerate themselves through the process of cell division. In addition, if conditions are right, they can differentiate and mature into the specialized cells that make up all of the body's tissues and organs.

To continue reading this article, you must log in.

Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.

  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »

I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.

Sign Me Up

Already a member? Login ».


As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.