Adult Stem Cells
Adult Stem Cells
Few things carry as much promise to deliver advanced care for chronic and degenerative diseases as stem cells.
The adult stem cells in most of the body’s organs and tissues tend to be a mix of multipotent, oligopotent and unipotent adult stem cells. These terms refer to the potency of these stem cells.
Briefly: Multipotent stem cells can differentiate into a number of somatic cell types, but only those of a closely related family of cells.
Oligopotent stem cells on-the-other-hand can differentiate into only a few cell types such as lymphoid or myeloid cells.
Unipotent cells can generate only one somatic cell type, their own, though they possess the property of self-renewal (which sets them apart from non-stem cells).
Many skeptics have pointed out that no matter how many millions of adult stem cells are infused into patients, the numbers that actually engraft and differentiate or transdifferentiate in target tissues or organs is too low to have a major impact on whatever damage or disease is present. This might be true if healing and restoration was dependent on the differentiated or transdifferentiated cells alone. However, both I and many others working in stem cell medicine contend that the infused cells, both those that engraft and those that do not and are eventually cleared or die off, facilitate healing by other means. This brings me to the paracrine and other effects of substances secreted by these cells, a mechanism that in my opinion probably accounts in large part for the remediative, healing and restorative impact seen in the clinic.
During the past decade or so researchers have identified numerous growth factors (plus a chemokine) that are expressed by bone marrow stem cells, typically upon engraftment.
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