Screen Shot 2016-03-11 at 9.50.42 AMRegenerative medicine is a multidisciplinary science that has evolved with recent advances in tissue engineering.  It combines biomaterials, growth factors and stem cells to accelerate the natural healing process.

A stem cell is characterized by its ability to self-renew and to differentiate along multiple pathways in a regulatable and reproducible manner.  A stem cell has the remarkable potential to develop into many different cell types in the body. When a stem cell divides, each new cell has the potential either to remain a stem cell or become another type of cell with a more specialized function, such as a muscle cell, a cartilage cell, a nerve cell, a red blood cell, a heart cell or a brain cell.

Stem cell therapy is a form of cell therapy that introduces new adult stem cells into damaged organs or tissue with the objective to treat a disease, injury or ailment and to heal the organ or tissue. Stem cells can be successfully harvested from peripheral blood, adipose tissue, bone marrow and umbilical cord blood. A stem cell can be harvested by a minimally invasive procedure and can be safely and effectively transplanted to an autologous host. With the increased incidence of obesity in the United States and abroad, subcutaneous adipose tissue is abundant, readily accessible and nearly pain free.

Human pathologies support the concept that adipose tissue contains multipotent progenitor cells. Children with a rare disease known as progressive osseous heteroplasia (POH) present to clinicians as a result of ectopic bone formation within their subcutaneous adipose layer of their skin. Histological analysis of these lesions demonstrates the presence of osteoblasts and chondrocytes in addition to adipocytes.  Adipose tissue–derived stem cells are tripotent, with the capability of adipogenic, chondrogenic, and osteogenic differentiation potential. Various soft tissue tumors such as lipomas and liposarcomas lend further weight to the existence of adipose-derived stem cells. A Stem cell within adipose tissue is responsible for replacing mature adipocytes through the life.

Bone Marrow Stromal cells are Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), have the capacity to differentiate into a variety of connective tissue cells including bone, cartilage, tendon, muscle, and adipose tissue. These cells may be isolated from bone marrow with ease, while retaining their capacity to differentiate when exposed to appropriate signals. The isolation of these cells from adult tissues raises opportunities for the development of novel cellular therapies without the ethical considerations associated with embryonic stem cells.

Multipotent cells have been isolated from various mesenchymal tissues in adults, including skeletal muscle, fat, and synovial membrane as well as hematopoietic, neural, and hepatic tissues. In certain degenerative diseases such as osteoarthritis (OA), stem cells are depleted and have reduced proliferative capacity and reduced ability to differentiate. The systemic or local delivery of stem cells to these individuals may therefore enhance repair or inhibit the progressive loss of joint tissue. OA is characterized by degeneration of the articular cartilage, with loss of matrix, fibrillation, formation of fissures, and ultimately complete loss of the cartilage surface. Other articular tissues are also affected, including the subchondral bone, ligaments, joint capsule, synovial membrane, and periarticular muscles. Although OA affects a large proportion of the population, there are few, if any, effective therapies available today that alter the pathobiologic course of the disease.

Stem cell therapy is believed to have the power to alleviate the suffering caused by several diseases. Stem cells are the building blocks of the body.  The stem cells that are formed in early development of an embryo can become one of over 200 types of stem cells.  These cells then become specific to a certain part of the body and become capable of self-renewing.  Stem cell therapy is the latest innovation in the field of science and medicine today.  Stem cell therapy is a kind of intervention that recruits new adult stem cells into the body, particularly to damaged tissues; has been used to treat various diseases and injuries.  Although stem cell therapy is new and expensive, its benefits to people’s health and well-being are unquestionable. The ability of stem-cells to self-renew gives significant potential for generation of tissues that can replace diseased or damaged tissues in the body with a lower risk of rejection as well as harmful side effects.  The procedure works well with diseases such as heart failure, diabetes, COPD, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimers, and more. The Stem cell therapy can be significantly effective in treating degenerative joint and disk disease, chronic bursitis, tendinosis, and chronic pain from prior fractures, sprain or strain. Stem cell procedures are being used for treating bone fractures and non-unions, regenerating articular cartilage in arthritic joints, healing ligaments or tendons, and replacing degenerative vertebral disks.

It is expected, however, that as more knowledge of tissue engineering is obtained, stem cell procedures will become more common.