When it comes to utilizing Stem Cells to help you get out of pain, and improve your health, you want to know the different types of Stem Cells that are available for you.
In this blog post, we are going to discuss the different types of stem cells, and the pros and cons of each type.
There are essentially 6 types of Stem Cells available for therapeutic use in a clinical setting.
- Bone Marrow
- Adipose Tissue (Fat)
- Umbilical Cord
So let’s get started discussing the pros and cons of each!
First, let’s get it out in the open. Embryonic Stem Cells are the ones with all the controversy surrounding them with their moral and ethical issues. Embryonic Stem Cells can be harvested from aborted fetuses. In the U.S. it is illegal to even use these type of Stem Cells. We want to be clear: We do NOT utilize these type of stem cells in our clinic. Besides the moral and ethical issues we personally have with them, they are not even the best from a clinical outcome standpoint…..in fact, based on research, they are the WORST clinically and therapeutically! I won’t waste any more time here discussing them. Just know, we do NOT utilize these type of Stem Cells.
There are a number of clinics who utilize Amniotic Stem Cells. Amniotic Stem Cells are derived from the amniotic fluid, through a process called amniocentesis. Through this process, there is a small chance that debris within the amniotic fluid can be extracted as well. If it does, this can cause an allergic reaction when injected into the patient. While the chance is small, it can happen. The more important issue is the number of LIVE Stem Cells that can be obtained from amniotic tissues. One of the 2 key factors with Stem Cells is the number of LIVE Stem Cells available, and the doubling time of those Stem Cells. (I won’t go into the reasons why here, but I will discuss more in depth in a later blog post.) One of the biggest drawbacks to Amniotic Stem Cells is that they have very little LIVE Stem Cells in the vial when delivered from the lab. Even some 3rd part testers have found NO LIVE Stem Cells in Amniotic Stem Cell products! It is the LIVE Stem Cells that are responsible for the main part of the repair and regeneration of the tissues. Amniotic Stem Cell products do have growth factors, cytokines, and other anti-inflammatory properties. And all pain is ultimately has a root issue of inflammation of tissues. So even without LIVE Stem Cells, they can produce some pain relief. However, in many cases the pain relief is short lived because there is no actual repair and regeneration of the tissues. For these reasons, we have chosen NOT to utilize Amniotic Stem Cells.
Placental Stem Cells come from the placental tissue after a baby is born. The issues for the potential of debris, and lack of enough LIVE Stem Cells, produce the same issues for Placental Stem Cells as discussed above with Amniotic Stem Cells. So I will not reiterate the same information here.
Bone Marrow Stem Cells come from, as you would guess, the bone marrow. This was one of the earliest found sources of stem cells, and has been used for decades now therapeutically in a clinical setting. To obtain Bone Marrow Stem Cells, a patient will undergo a bone marrow aspirate. This is a surgical procedure, with a very large needle. And if you have spoken to anyone who has had a bone marrow aspirate, they are PAINFUL! Just like with any surgical procedure, there is the potential for complications and side effects.
However, the other issue is with the potency of the Bone Marrow Stem Cells. The 2 most important factors when considering Stem Cells therapeutically to reduce pain are 1) The number of Stem Cells injected into the area of complaint, and 2) how young the stem cells are. I won’t go into great detail of why these are so important right now. However, I will discuss these in more detail in a future blog post. But just know that you want a substantial amount of Stem Cells, and you want the liveliest, most robust Stem Cells available. Many clinics that utilize Bone Marrow Stem Cells do not measure the amount of Stem Cells they are injecting back into their patients. So they have no idea on the number of Stem Cells that have been harvested from the patient’s bone marrow. Additionally, if you have a patient who is above the age of 50 undergoing this procedure, the robustness (the doubling rate) of the Stem Cells reduces significantly! Which results in a decreased rate of regeneration of repair. This ultimately means that the patient doesn’t have the maximum potential for pain relief. For these reasons we do NOT utilize Bone Marrow Stem Cells in our clinic.
ADISPOSE TISSUE (FAT)
As you can probably guess here, Adipose Stem Cells come from the fat tissue. They are extracted essentially via liposuction. Which sounds great if you also need to lose weight! However, only about the size of a stick of butter of fat is extracted from the patient’s body. Then from that fat tissue, the Adipose Stem Cells are harvested, and then reinjected back into the patients. Much like Bone Marrow Stem Cells, Adipose Stem Cells are heavily marketed as “we use your own body’s cells, so it is super safe!”. Well, there are the potential risks of side effects from the surgery, which the clinics will have the patient sign off on. Additionally, just a couple of months before we began performing Stem Cell therapy in our clinic, I had a patient who underwent her Adipose Stem Cell procedure about a week before she was in my office. She lifted up her shirt to show me her abdominal region and she was still black and purple from the bruising of the procedure! She had literally not been able to wear a seatbelt for almost a week!
Besides those potential complications, Adipose Stem Cells have the same issue as Bone Marrow Stem Cells when it comes to 1) number of Stem Cells being injected back into the patient and 2) the robustness and liveliness of the Stem Cells to replicate. Especially if the patient is above the age of 50. See above in the Bone Marrow Stem Cell section where I discuss this a little more. For these reasons we do NOT utilize Adipose Tissue Stem Cells in our clinic.
UMBILICAL CORD STEM CELLS
Umbilical Cord Stem Cells are derived from umbilical cord blood and umbilical cord tissues. They come from a live, healthy, full-term birth baby. Starting about 10 years ago, parents were given the option to “bank their cord blood”. This allowed them to save their baby’s cord blood in a lab in case the baby ever needed it for future medical treatments. The initial and ongoing investments to bank the cord blood is cost prohibitive for many parents, so most do not elect to do it. There are some mothers who elect to donate their cord blood. If they don’t, the umbilical cord and it’s blood will be thrown out as biomedical waste after the baby is born. If the mother does elect to donate the umbilical cord blood, the umbilical cord and blood are collected. Then the umbilical cord blood undergoes testing for about 17 communicable diseases….much like if someone went to go donate blood or plasma. If all the tests pass, then the Umbilical Cord Stem Cells are harvested from the umbilical cord and blood. The Umbilical Cord Stem Cells are then stored in a lab at -260 degrees until ordered from a clinic like ours’. Once ordered, the lab will overnight the Umbilical Cord Stem Cells to us on dry ice, to be administered to the patient the following day.
With Umbilical Cord Stem Cells we know how many LIVE Stem Cells are in each mL vial of stem cells, via 3rd party testing. This has shown to be significantly more than the above listed other Stem Cell types. Additionally, we receive the youngest, healthies, most robust and lively Stem Cells available. This ultimately means that the patient will receive the most therapeutic benefit when it comes to repair, regeneration, and pain relief.
For these reasons we DO utilize Umbilical Cord Stem Cells in our clinic.
If you are interested in seeing if Umbilical Cord Stem Cells can help you get out of pain, and improve your quality of life, you can go here to learn more.