What are stem cells?
Stem Cells, as a multi-potent cell, have the potential to develop into different cell types in the body. When a Stem Cell divides – each new cell can either remain a multi-potent Stem Cell, or develop into a more differentiated type of cell – such as a Muscle Cell, Red Blood Cell, Heart Cell, Liver or Kidney Cell, Brain Cell, etc.
Stem Cells are distinguished from other cell types by two important characteristics:
- They are unspecialized cells capable of renewing themselves through cell division, even after long periods of inactivity
- Under certain physiologic or experimental conditions, they can be induced to become tissue – or ‘organ specific’ cells with specialized functions. In some organs (such as the Gastro-Intestinal Tissues, or the Bone Marrow) Stem Cells divide to repair and replace worn out or ‘damaged’ tissues. In other organs however, such as the Pancreas and the Heart, Stem Cells only divide under very ‘specific conditions’.
Also important to note, Stem cells have been shown to have a ‘Paracrine’ effect – by secreting/excreting specific information ‘packets’ in the local area – they can indeed activate and induce nearby (already present in the Patient) Stem Cells, and further enhance the regenerative effects.
In the history of Stem Cell research – it was determined that with very specific conditions, some adult cells can be ‘reprogrammed’ genetically to assume a Stem Cell – like state. This new type of Stem Cell has been attributed a very specific name – iPSCs- induced Pluripotent Stem Cells.
Stem cells are important for living organisms – as continual regeneration is necessary due to the problems of oxidation, injury, disease, and just being plain ‘worn out’ tissue. We know that in the 3-5 day old fetus (also known as a blastocyst – or a ‘morula’) the inner cells give rise to the development of the entire body of the organism, including the specialized cell types and organs: Heart, Lungs, Skin, Nervous System, Bones, Muscle, Gastro-Intestinal System, etc. In some adult tissues (Bone Marrow, Muscle, and Brain), there still exist focused populations of Adult Stem Cells to regenerate replacements for cells that are lost through normal wear and tear, injury, and disease.
Research with Stem Cells continues to advance knowledge about how we develop from the single fertilized egg, and how healthy cells replace damaged cells in adults. Stem Cell Research is one of the most fascinating areas of Medicine, and with many expanding fields of scientific methods of discovery, research on Stem Cells raises many scientific questions as quickly as it generates new breakthroughs in discovery.
Types of Stem Cells:
- Embryonic Stem Cells: NOT USED, as they are obtained from Aborted Babies
- Tissue Specific Stem Cells:
An example would be BONE MARROW STEM CELLS
These ‘blood forming’ (hematopoietic) Stem Cells in the Bone Marrow can give rise to Red Blood Cells, White Blood Cells, and Platelets. It is thought that these cells, while plentiful, are less effective in generating some organ tissues (Brain, Lung, etc.). They can however be very effective in helping to establish vascular (blood vessel) networks in compromised tissues, and are thought to have a ‘Paracrine’ effect on localized pre-existing tissues that contain Stem Cells.
- Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells: NOT USED
These cells are specifically in the realm of Research, and used in the lab / engineered to convert tissue-specific cells (Skin, etc.) into behaving like Embryonic Stem Cells. iIPSC’s are important tools to help understand development and the onset of disease in tissues, and predict progression of disease / degeneration.
- Mesenchymal Stem Cells:
These MSC’s are adult Stem Cells found in Bone Marrow, and can also be isolated from other tissues including
- Umbilical Cord Blood Cells
- Umbilical Cord Tissue
- and many other tissues, including the Fallopian tube, the Lung, etc.
MSC’s differentiate and can form many tissues, including Fat, Cartilage, Bone, Tendons, etc.
Dr. Thermos has developed his program of
- Adult Autologous (Self Donated) Stem Cells from the Patient’s Bone Marrow and
- Allogeneic (Donated from Live-Birthed Babies Umbilical Cord tissues from a Tissue bank)
allowing the flexibility in the treatment of a variety of conditions. In the treatment of our Patient’s conditions, they are prescribed a custom tailored Stem Cell program to their specific needs. By specifically adding Stem Cells to our Patient’s programs, this could include exclusively Autologous Stem Cells, exclusively Allogeneic Stem Cells, or a combination of both. Current Medical Theory is that this replenishment and transplantation of Stem Cells can assist in the tissue / organ rejuvenation and cell renewal process, either directly by the cells differentiating into the targeted tissues – or by the Stem Cells inducing the local existing tissues (via Exosomes – cellular information ‘packets’) to regenerate.
The entire process is very simple, fast, relatively painless, and extremely safe. If a Patient is donating their own Stem Cells to themselves for use, there is no chance at rejection. If a Patient is utilizing thoroughly screened in a Federally Regulated Allogeneic (donated) Stem Cells from a Tissue Bank, because of the immature nature of the Cells – the Umbilical Cord Mesenchymal Stem Cells LACK MHCII proteins, and are considered hypo-immunogenic – very unlikely to result in a reaction for the Patient.
By using a combination of Umbilical Cord and Bone Marrow Stem Cells, we can (when needed) take advantage of the full spectrum of Growth Factors present in the Umbilical Cord tissues, and in essence potentiate larger volumes of Stem Cells obtained by harvesting and combining with Bone Marrow (MSC’s) Stem Cells.