Benefits of Adipose-Derived Stem Cells

Benefits of Adipose-Derived Stem Cells

Stem cells are a hot topic in current scientific research.  They can treat various conditions, from anti-aging benefits to treating autoimmune disorders.  In some respects, stem cells are portrayed as a miracle treatment.  We see them portrayed in medical shows and read about them online.  But what are stem cells and are some stem cells better than others?

Stem cells are undifferentiated cells.  This means they have no current “job” in the body.  Stem cells eventually differentiate into skin cells, cardiac cells, brain cells, etc.  Stem cells can be used to help scientists understand how diseases develop and allow for the testing of new medications.  However, stem cells are most famous for their ability to help the body regenerate damaged or diseased tissues.

Stem cells are very complicated, in part, because there are many different types.  Embryonic stem cells are derived from embryos that are three to five days old.  These stem cells are pluripotent, meaning they can multiply in number and differentiate into any cell in the body.  Adult stem cells are not pluripotent.  Therefore, they can only be used to treat ailments in certain parts of the body.  Some research has shown that adult stem cells can be genetically mutated to possess pluripotent capabilities.

Adipose-derived stem cells possess unique qualities that aid in treating various conditions.  Adipose-derived stem cells are those obtained from fat tissue.  These cells have the ability to differentiate into a multitude of cells, such as other mesenchymal cells, osteoblasts, myocytes, adipocytes, and chondrocytes.  Adipose-derived stem cells are widely available and easy to obtain.  This makes them easier to work with than stem cells derived from bone marrow, or embryonic stem cells.  Also, the procedure to obtain adipose-derived stem cells is considered minimally invasive, so it is safer for the patient.  Adipose-derived stem cells have an ability to proliferate, which does not decrease with age.

Adipose-derived stem cells produce a more significant amount of stem cells for use than other methods.  They can secrete growth factors, cytokines, and chemokines, which all play roles in scarring and immunity.  Adipose-derived stem cells have been shown to help in treating soft tissue damage, heart muscle damage, spinal disc degeneration, and pulmonary disease, amongst others.

Stem cells derived from adipose are being studied for good reason.  They are easily harvested, have a high potential to differentiate, and have shown great success in regenerative therapy.  While all stem cells have proved to help treat a multitude of conditions, one of the biggest hurdles is cost.  Harvesting stem cells can be financially costly and present risk to the patient.  For this reason, finding a type of stem cell that is easily harvested and produces a large number of stem cells, is key to getting cost down.  The only way stem cells will have the ability to be widely used in medical practice is if the process and cost are reasonable for all patients.  Adipose-derived stem cells provide hope for widespread use of stem cells to treat medical conditions.

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