Adult Human Stem Cells – Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSC)
Adult Human Stem Cells, also known and referred to as adult Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs), are self-regenerating cells with the capacity to differentiate into most other cell lineages. What this essentially means is stem cells harvested and concentrated from a patient’s own adipose tissue (fat tissue) or bone marrow can be processed and re-injected into virtually any inflamed tissue injury [e.g., knee, shoulder, brain (stroke), heart muscle, etc.].
Stem cells seek out inflammation and home into areas where injury has occurred (a process known as HOMING). These stem cells will go through a series of molecular adaptations known as trans-differentiation. Ideally, they take on the characteristics of the cells in the local environment in which they are re-introduced and home, allowing for natural (non-pharmaceutical) regeneration of injured tissues without risk to the patient.
Note: Medical Error was reported as the 3rd leading cause of death in the United States in 2016. This accounts for roughly 250,000 deaths each year. Most of these deaths can be attributed to hospital-acquired infections and adverse drug reactions. Stem cells and other natural remedies offer hope at reducing these unfortunate deaths by using the body’s own natural healing mechanisms, potentially eliminating the need for risky drug therapies and long hospital stays.
Top 3 Leading Causes of Death in the United States, the Year 2016
- Heart Disease: 614,348
- Cancer: 591,699
- Medical Error 251,454
Distribution of Leading Medical Error Induced Deaths
Autologous Adult Stem Cells (MSCs)
Autologous stem cells are self-derived. They can virtually be harvested from any of the body’s tissues. The two most common areas used for harvesting autologous (self-derived) stem cells are Adipose Tissue (fat tissues) and Bone Marrow.
Best Autologous Adult Stem Cells (MSCs)
There is much debate about which area (bone marrow or adipose tissue) provides the best and the most number of stem cells. This debate seems to never end, and often doctors and researchers alike are misinformed when it comes to stem cells, nucleated cells, and the measurement of their density and concentration. One can review the comparison chart below of one such report.
Most who argue the benefit of one MSC-derived-harvest location over the other are confused and are overlooking other important factors in the human body that impact stem cell effectiveness. These include, but are not limited to: how cells are concentrated in different tissues, calculating cell ratios correctly for different sources of MSCs, and the biochemical cascading effects of MSCs once reintroduced into the body.
Allogenic Adult Stem Cells (MSCs)
Allogenic stem cells come from another person (a donor), they are not self-derived. In the majority of cases, allogenic stem cells get harvested from donated cord blood and placenta tissue obtained from full-term C-section births.
NOTE: Over the past two decades there has been some controversy surrounding embryonic stem cells. Embryonic stem cells were being harvested from embryos, which violated religious beliefs and the sanctity of life for many. We don’t support this area of research or are based on moral and ethical grounds. All allogeneic (donated) stem cells we investigate and use in our practice are donated from cord blood and placenta tissue of mothers from full-term C-section births. These tissues would otherwise be discarded.
See Vatican Adult Stem Cell Summit <Click here>
One of the key reasons for using allogeneic adult stem cells is based on the theory of “More is Better.” The more is better believers argue that increasing the amount of good quality healthy stem cells provides the best chance of efficacy in any given treatment. This is true to a degree, however, in life and in business there is the law known as diminishing returns. No one can say with certainty exactly what quantity (or threshold) that must be met for efficacy, and when is too much a possible detriment to outcomes.
One also needs to take into account the overall metabolic health of the body, and the body’s ability to foster and support cell-to-cell communication. If the body’s own metabolic health is so diminished, such that it attenuates successful cell-to-cell biochemical communications, then one cannot expect success from treatment. No matter where MSCs are derived from; either from bone marrow, adipose tissue – or for that matter donated allogenic derived MSCs from cord blood and placenta tissues, successful outcomes are determined from hundreds if not thousands of micro-environmental factors inside the body.
Stem Cell Fitness with Age
As mentioned, the mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) most recently is referred to as “medicinal signaling cells” by Professor Caplan, Ph.D., the scientist who coined the term: Mesenchymal Stem Cell. One key reason for this relates to trans-differentiation and the Paracrine Effect. That is, the unique capacity of mesenchymal stem cells to adapt and respond to the specific environment in which they are placed and to induce positive regenerative biochemical reactions.
For instance, stem cells harvested from adipose tissue obviously have many different characteristics than knee tissue or shoulder tissue. Yet we now know and understand that when adipose-derived stem cells are harvested, concentrated, and in some cases expanded, and then reintroduced into the shoulder, they will observe, adapt, and trans-differentiate to behave as shoulder stem cells. This is the power of the non-pharmaceutical mechanism for the natural regeneration of the human body and its tissues.
The Paracrine Effect – Undervalued Potency of the Adult Mesenchymal Stem Cell
One of the most exciting consequences of stem cell research and the regenerative capacity of stem cell therapy is what’s known as the paracrine effect. A paracrine effect is a form of cell-to-cell communication in which a cell produces signals that induce changes in nearby cells, altering the behavior. We like to look at this as a priming and seeding activity. You see, when stem cells are introduced to an injury area, in the form of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), then these chemical reactions take place at the molecular level. They do more than just allow for the stem cells to engraft and grow. In fact, evidence shows that the actual stem cells injected may play less of a role than once previously thought. The secondary biochemical reactions resulting from a stem cell transplant may in fact be more important.
The cascading events of biochemical reactions and cell-to-cell communication stemming from the harvesting, concentration, expansion, and re-introduction of mesenchymal stem cells are key. This process in effect is stimulating the natural regenerative process within the human body through chemical signaling. These effects may indeed be more important than the actual engraftment of the concentrated cells in the tissue. This cascade of biochemical events entails recruiting other chemicals, and the reactions from these chemicals, with the body’s own healing processes, promoting more growth factors, immunosuppressive factors, and anti-bacterial factors, among others, supporting a boost to the natural regenerative process.
Research has shown by tracking mesenchymal stem cells in vivo that these cells are not detectable 7-14 days after transplant. Furthermore, only a small percentage of these cells successfully home to (and persist in) the intended injury site. Yet, a beneficial regenerative process can still be observed through an indirect effect of the in vivo (natural-medicinal) biochemical reactions caused by a stem cell transplant.
It’s understood, that even with local injection of stem cells to a specific injury site, only 1-5% of these cells engraft within the target location for regeneration.
There is something much more powerful at play here. It is not just the quantity and quality of stem cells, it is also the body’s ability to respond at the molecular level to a stem cell transplant. Suffice it to say that in order for a patient to get the best outcome from any cellular therapy, including platelet-rich plasma all the way up to stem cell therapy, it is important to consult and advise the patient on the importance of:
- Metabolic health – optimal endothelial cell health as measured by pulse wave velocity, lipids, insulin resistance, and other biological markers. These elements of course must also play an important role in determining successful engraftment and cell-to-cell signaling of MSCs.
- Consistency of Process – Standardizing the process of harvesting stem cells and delivering them is critical. Far too many stem cell transplant clinics do not use tools, policies, and procedures that reliably and consistently standardize harvesting and processing, reducing the chances for human error. Just like in aviation technology, the more you reduce the human error component, the more consistent and predictable the outcomes.
For more information on metabolic health, please see the following Metabolic Wellness Page.
For more information on bioidentical hormone replacement, please see the following Hormone Replacement Therapy page.
If you are interested in learning more about our full line of health and rejuvenation therapies, including metabolic wellness, bioidentical hormone replacement, and regenerative cellular therapies like Platelet-rich Plasma and Stem Cell Therapy, please complete the contact form.