Physicians and researchers all over the world are waking up to a simple reality. Adult stem cell therapies hold the potential to change the face of modern medicine by using our own cells to fight disease.
Banking your stem cells now assures that your stem cells will be available to you in the case that you need them to fight a disease or treat an unforeseen medical condition. Similarly, as more cures, techniques and procedures are developed, your stem cells will be available for potentially new and exciting medical breakthroughs.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is an adult stem cell?
- What is an autologous stem cell transplant?
- What is an allogeneic stem cell transplant?
- Why should I be excited about adult stem cell transplants?
The adult stem cell is an undifferentiated cell that is found in a differentiated tissue. It has the ability to renew itself and become specialized to yield all the cell types of the tissue from which it originated and, in the appropriate environment, can also become a specialized cell of a different tissue. Adult stem cells are capable of self-renewal for the lifetime of the organism.
Adult stem cells offer the possibility of a renewable source of replacement cells and tissues to treat a myriad of diseases, conditions and disabilities. Adult stem cells are relatively quiescent (inactive) cells, particularly in organisms where cell turnover is low, yet they can mount a rapid and strong response to tissue stress and injury.
Autologous stem cell transplants involve using an individual’s own cells, which are removed (or “collected”), processed, and then returned to the body. When a patient’s own adult stem cells (autologous cells) are used to treat the patient, there are clinical and economic advantages, as there are no issues with immune rejection. Engraftment (the process by which the transplanted stem cells start producing new cells within your body), is faster, safer and much less costly with your own stem cells than when receiving someone else’s stem cells.
In an allogeneic transplant (where you’re using somebody else’s cells), for example in the treatment of cancer patients, the donor cells are intended to provide the patient with new blood cells and a new immune system. The donor cells are obtained from a Human Leukocyte Antigens (HLA) matched individual, and may be obtained from a related donor who is a match (based on HLA, the genetic markers of the immune system) or could be from unrelated donors.
Adult stem cell transplants (bone marrow, cord blood and apheresis transplants) have been used for over 40 years in successfully treating cancers such as leukemia, multiple myeloma and lymphomas, and research has now opened the doors to regenerative and reparative therapeutics. There has been an increase in adult stem cell therapy clinical trials which are showing great promise in the areas of skin and wound healing, orthopedics, and in treating diseases including peripheral vascular disease, scleroderma, diabetes, congestive heart failure, myocardial infarction, and much more.
Benefits of Autologous Adult Stem cells
- Your own (autologous) adult stem cells are the best match for you because they are 100% compatible with your body
- Finding a donor match for your stem cells may be difficult based on your ethnicity and genetic make-up.
- Using someone else’s cells may require a lifetime use of anti-rejection drugs.