About Stem Cell Treatments

The belief that there exists an undifferentiated cell which can be programmed into another type of cell forms the basis of stem cell biology. Today, stem cell treatments have become a reality. The capability of stem cells to regenerate organs and tissues opens a wide spectrum of treatment possibilities for many diseases that were considered incurable.

There is an increasing interest in using stem cells in the treatment of degenerative diseases such as, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer´s disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis (OA), knee injury, osteoporosis, myocardial infarction, and multiple sclerosis, for which there is no curative therapy.

Stem cells, characteristics and properties

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Stem cells are distinguished from other cell types by two important characteristics; 1. They are unspecialized cells capable of renewing themselves through cell division, and 2. Under certain physiologic conditions, stem cells can be induced to become tissue- or organ-specific cells with special functions. The primary roles of adult stem cells in a living organism are to maintain, and repair the tissue in which they are found.

Stem cells come from two main sources; embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells. Adult stem cells do not require the destruction of an embryo and their collection and use in research is not controversial. Mesenchymal stem cells are one type of adult stem cells that differentiate into a variety of tissues including; adipose tissue, lung, bone marrow and blood. Mesenchymal stem cells can convert into ligaments, cartilage, lung tissue, muscle, bone and even brain cells. Mesenchymal stem cells are used in clinical therapy because of their ability to differentiate, promote cellular growth and survival, modify the immune system and promote tissue healing.

Classification of stem cells

The Stem Cells Transplant Institute uses adult autologous mesenchymal stem cells derived from adipose tissue.

Stem cells come from two main sources; embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells. Adult stem cells do not require the destruction of an embryo and their collection and use in research is not controversial. Adult stem cells are undifferentiated totipotent or multipotent cells, found throughout the body after embryonic development.

Stem cells are also classified based on where they are collected from; allogenic stem cells are collected from the same species, xenogeneic stem cells are collected from a different species, and autologous stem cells are collected from the intended recipient.

Stem cells can be classified by the extent to which they can differentiate into different cell types. These four main classifications are totipotent, pluripotent, multipotent, or unipotent. Mesenchymal stem cells, or MSCs, are multipotent stromal cells that can differentiate into a variety of cell types, including: osteoblasts (bone cells), chondrocytes (cartilage cells), myocytes (muscle cells) and adipocytes (fat cells).