To understand which type of stem cell is best, it is necessary to dive a bit deeper into the science of stem cells and Regenerative Medicine.
Regeneration is the ability of the human body to heal itself. Regenerative medicine is the clinical application of regeneration. Two of the main sources of regenerative medicine are stem cells and growth factors, which stimulate and enhance stem cell and tissue regeneration.
What are Stem cells?
Stem cells are a type of undifferentiated cell that have the ability to differentiate, or change, into specific and specialized cell types.
Adult stem cells are a type of undifferentiated cell found in a tissue or organ. It can renew itself and can differentiate into some or all of the major specialized cell types; replacing cells that are dying, and releasing molecules that enhance the repair of damaged tissue due to disease, trauma and aging.
Two main characteristics of mesenchymal stem cells are:
1. Differentiation: Ability to differentiate into any type of specialized cell.
2. Self-renewal: Ability to produce more like stem cells indefinitely.
Allogeneic versus Autologous Stem Cells: What is the difference?
Autologous stem cell therapy uses a person’s own stem cells. In this procedure, stem cells are extracted from the patient’s own adipose or bone marrow tissue and then purified and concentrated before being reinjected back into the patient. For patients under 65, this treatment is effective for treating certain injuries and age-related conditions.
Allogenic stem cell therapy uses stem cells collected from tissue from a human source other than the intended recipient. For example, allogeneic stem cells can come from a matched donor, umbilical cord blood or umbilical cord tissue.
Allogeneic stem cells from umbilical cord blood or umbilical cord tissue are used in regenerative medicine to stimulate natural cell regeneration and tissue repair.
To effectively treat patients over the age of 65 or patients suffering from more severe chronic degenerative, immune modulated and neurodegenerative conditions it is necessary to use higher concentrations of younger stem cells. For higher concentrations of stem cells, it is necessary to use cells derived from allogeneic sources such as umbilical cord blood or tissue. The cells are extracted, isolated, and expanded to enhance the quantity and efficacy.
This type of treatment requires a physician and laboratory trained in the field of regenerative medicine, that understand and comply rigorous quality control methods to ensure safety and efficacy.
Neither of these therapies should be confused with stem cell transplant used to treat leukemia or lymphoma.
How are Stem Cells Classified?
Stem cells can be classified according to their origin; embryo, fetus, umbilical cord or adult stem cells:
- embryonic stem cells (ESCs)
- fetal stem cells (FSCs)
- umbilical cord stem cells (UCSCs)
- Adult stem cells (ASCs).
ESCs are totipotent, which means that they can be differentiated in any cell type, however, these cells are highly controversial and generate ethical and legal dilemmas. Additionally, there is a risk of developing teratomas. It is for both these reasons, embryonic stem cells are not currently used in Regenerative Medicine.
FSCs have already lost their pluripotency and are considered to be multipotent, which means that they are only capable of differentiating into cells from the same germ layer.
UCSCs can be obtained postnatally from the umbilical cord, including cord blood, cord tissue, placenta, umbilical cord vein or umbilical cord matrix cells. These cells are capable of forming many different cell types.
ASCs include bone marrow, neural, hematopoietic (HSCs) and adipose-derived (Adipose-Derived Stem Cell, ADSCs) 2,3
Adipose Derived Stem Cells
- ADSC cells are easily accessible through a minimally invasive and safe procedure
- Each gram of tissue has concentrations of stem cells up to a thousand times higher than other tissues, including bone marrow.
- They have a high degree of plasticity (they can differentiate into adipocytes, osteoblasts, chondrocytes, myocytes, cardiomyocytes, nerve cells, liver, pancreatic and epithelial cells).
- They have greater genetic stability than other cells
Umbilical Cord Stem Cells
UCSCs are cells that due to their primitive nature have similar characteristics to embryonic cells and surpass adult cells in many characteristics, but do not have the ethical or legal problems of embryonic stem cells.
UCSCs isolated from the Wharton jelly of the umbilical cord tissue have important advantages:
- They are cultivated with high efficiency.
- They differentiate into a much wider range of cell types.
- They are not at risk of developing tumors
- They are considered “immunoprivileged” because they do not express hla so there is no risk of rejection. ü
- They inhibit proinflammatory cytokines.
- They stimulate the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines.
- They are easy to store for long periods of time
- They can be easily obtained from a product that was previously considered medical waste.
This makes these cells an excellent source for both autologous and allogeneic therapy and are currently considered the best source of stem cells.
The doctors at the Stem Cells Transplant Institute are certified by the American Academy of Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine and are members of the International Society for Stem Cell Application.
The Stem Cells Transplant Institute provides therapies with adult mesenchymal stem cells obtained from adipose tissue and bone marrow in addition to, cultured and expanded human stem cells derived from umbilical cord tissue.
Contact us today to learn more about the benefits of stem cell therapy for your specific condition.
- Bajek A, Gurtowska N, Olkowska J, Kazmierski L, Maj M, Drewa T. Adipose-Derived Stem Cells as a Tool in Cell-Based Therapies. Arch Immunol Ther Exp (Warsz). 2016;64(6):443-454.
- 5. Kim EH, Heo CY. Current applications of adipose-derived stem cells and their future perspectives. World J Stem Cells. 2014;6(1):65-68.
- 6. Buschmann J, Gao S, Härter L, Hemmi S, Welti M, Werner CM, et al. Yield and proliferation rate of adipose-derived stromal cells as a function of age, body mass index and harvest site-increasing the yield by use of adherent and supernatant fractions? Cytotherapy. 2013;15(9):1098-105.