Stem cells are still a new, confusing, and often scary subject for many patients. To help you better understand our process, we thought it might be useful to review the different types of stem cells that our bodies produce and the different ways they can be used to help improve your health.
Embryonic Stem Cells
Embryonic stem cells have gotten the most attention and are, by far, the most controversial. This is because these stem cells are formed in the pre-implantation stage of an embryo’s development. Not to mention, these embryonic stem cells are currently banned in the United States. Furthermore, the long-term risk of introducing foreign genetic material into one’s body is also largely unknown.
Rest assured that here at PreciseCare, we never use embryonic stem cells for a person’s treatment. All of the stem cells we use in your treatment will be adult cells harvested from your own body.
Adult Stem Cells (Somatic Stem Cells)
Adult stem cells (or, as scientists often call them: somatic stem cells) are cells that a body produces after a person is born. These cells aren’t “blank” like embryonic cells. Instead, they are generally tissue-specific and are used by the body to maintain and repair the parts of the body where they reside. Here are just a few of the different nomenclature (largely specific to the organ they reside in) for stem cells you have in your body right now:
Autologous Stem Cells
The word “Autologous” simply means the donor and the recipient are the same. These types of stem cells are harvested from the patient themselves. These are cells doctors use to help cancer patients build new and healthy blood and bone marrow after they have gone through radiation, chemotherapy and other cancer treatments. These cells carry the least risk as they are your own cells, from your own body (rather than cells from another human).
Epidermal Stem Cells
The epidermis is the outer lining of our body, namely the top layer of the skin. Epidermal stem cells are the stem cells that eventually become skin cells. In addition to building and repairing the skin on the outside (epidermis), they are also involved in the building and repairing of the skin that lies beneath that external layer (dermis). This category of stem cells also includes the stem cells found in the follicles, which help with the building of hair.
Epithelial Stem Cells
The epithelium is the inner lining of our body. Just like you have skin on the outside of your body to protect you against the world, you have thin layers of cells inside your body that encase and protect your internal organs against the harsh environment that exists inside your body. The stem cells found here are usually “programmed” by whichever part of the body that produces them.
Hematopoietic Stem Cells
These stem cells are formed within your blood and bone marrow. Hematopoietic stem cells are the cells that become blood cells and ensure you always have a steady supply of blood through your arteries and veins. In fact, bone marrow transplantation in the eighties was the earliest known example of stem cell therapy. Some people also bank their umbilical cord blood, which also contains hematopoietic stem cells, so that if need be, later on, these cells can be used to treat certain diseases.
Mesenchymal Stem Cells
These are another cousin of Autologous stem cells. Often referred to as the “other bone marrow stem cells or fat cells”, these stem cells help repair wounds and see your body through the aging process. Currently, scientists are excited about these cells’ ability to regenerate the body’s tissues. It is possible that someday these cells could be used for procedures like cardiac regeneration. As a matter of fact, many clinical applications for mesenchymal stem cells are already underway, especially in the area of treating sports injuries, joint pain, and arthritis.
Pluripotent Stem Cells
Pluripotent is a fancy way of saying “multi-purpose.” These are adult stem cells that have been “reprogrammed” or induced in a lab to behave like embryonic stem cells. They are currently used for drug development but doctors and scientists hope that someday they will be useful for organ and other transplants. Again, one has to be careful when it comes to pluripotent stem cells as the long-term risks of inducing cells with foreign agents is unknown.
At PreciseCare, we do not artificially induce your cells. We believe in using your own cells in their pure and natural state.
Today, we know a lot more about stem cells than ever before and at the rate the research is growing, it won’t be long before we know even more! In the future, we will be able to treat many more diseases using stem cell therapy.
To learn more about how stem cells can be used to help you naturally and quickly alleviate pain and return mobility to your body, sign up for an initial consultation or request an initial evaluation by filling out the form below.
Or call 949-734-9696 to request additional information.