Stem cell regenerative therapy is an exciting new field that has gotten a lot of press lately. You may have heard about athletes using it to help them avoid surgery and restore joint and tissue injury faster following injury.
Generally speaking, stem cells are blank slates that have the potential to develop into many different types of tissue in the body. Stem cells have the remarkable ability to morph into the types of cells present wherever they’re placed, becoming and functioning as healthy new cells.
Stem cell therapy has been around for a while now, and there are different types of stem cells and different uses for them.
Where Do Stems Cells Come From?
Stem cells used in medical therapy are retrieved from adults – most often, from the patient being treated. When this is the case, and patients are their own stem cell donors, the cells being donated are referred to as autologous stem cells.
For the vast majority of patients undergoing regenerative therapy, stem cells are withdrawn from their own blood, bone marrow, fat or other tissue; filtered and concentrated; then injected back into the patient at the site needing treatment.
In some cases, stem cells may be taken from a donor and not the patient undergoing treatment. These are called allogeneic stem cells and are typically used to jumpstart a patient’s immune system to better fight cancer or to grow healthy blood cells.
It is important to note that the adult (somatic) stem cells used in medical therapies are not the same as embryonic stem cells found in embryos. Adult stem cells can be found in tissue throughout the body and are considered multipotent – having the ability to transform into many different types of cells. Embryonic stem cells, on the other hand, are considered pluripotent, meaning they can transform into any cell type.
Types of Adult Stem Cells and Their Use:
- Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) can transform into blood cells. HSCs have been used for decades to treat certain types of cancers of the blood. They grow in and are extracted from the bone marrow.
- Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have the potential to transform into many types of tissues including cartilage, tendon, and bone. These types of cells are found in bone marrow and other parts of the body. Fat tissue contains a large number of MSCs. Scientists have grown MSCs in the laboratory and have used them in various types of cancer treatments. These types of cells have also been used in treating different types of arthritis and joint and bone problems.
- Neural stem cells (NSCs) can transform into different types of nerve cells. Scientists have used these types of cells to help treat different types of tumors.
- Skin stem cells are found in the deepest layer of the skin, at the base of hair follicles; they can transform into skin or hair cells. These types of cells are used to treat burns and other skin injuries.
At STAR Spine & Sport, our stem cell therapies involve the use of adult autologous stem cells – specifically, the mesenchymal stem cells located in the bone marrow or fat tissue. Using a patient’s own stem cells reduces the risk of infection or tissue rejection.
STAR Spine & Sport specializes in a variety of noninvasive treatments for both chronic and acute back and sciatic nerve pain and can help you toward becoming pain-free. From back braces and medication to massage and physical therapy, there is a treatment that can work for you. For more information, and to schedule a consultation, call (303) 238-4277.