How do stem cells work is a question best answered by starting with the cells themselves. The stem cells that we use in treatment are Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), derived from the Wharton’s jelly of the umbilical cord, which is a gelatinous tissue that surrounds the cord vessels. Unlike other sources of MSCs, such as bone marrow, these stem cells can be easily obtained and expanded in culture, making them an attractive source for cell-based therapies.
It is very important to note that we do not use any stem cells that are fetal or embryonic for moral, ethical and legal reasons. All of the stem cells that we use are from donated umbilical cords. The baby and mother are healthy, and no harm was done to either as a result of the donation.
These cells have several distinct characteristics that make them an attractive option for stem cell therapy.
- First, they are immune privileged, which means that they can be transplanted into individuals without triggering an immune response. This is because they lack certain surface markers that are recognized by the immune system, making them “invisible” to the body’s immune cells.
- Second, UCMSCs have immunomodulatory properties, which means that they can regulate the immune system by suppressing the activity of immune cells or promoting the activity of immune cells that are beneficial for tissue repair.
- Third, UCMSCs can secrete various growth factors and cytokines that promote tissue repair and regeneration.
So how do these stem cells work?
Researchers have identified several ways in which MSCs can promote tissue repair and regeneration.
One way that mesenchymal stem cells work is by differentiating into specific cell types. When MSCs are transplanted into a tissue, they can differentiate into the cell types that are needed for tissue repair and regeneration. For example, in a study of spinal cord injury, MSCs were transplanted into the injury site and were found to differentiate into neural-like cells, which helped to promote functional recovery.
Another way that MSCs work is by modulating the immune system. They can suppress the activity of immune cells that are responsible for inflammation and tissue damage, such as T cells and macrophages. This can help to reduce inflammation and promote tissue repair.
These stem cells can also promote the activity of immune cells that are beneficial for tissue repair, such as regulatory T cells and M2 macrophages. These immune cells can help to promote tissue repair and regeneration by releasing growth factors and other molecules that stimulate tissue repair.
MSCs also secrete various growth factors and cytokines that promote tissue repair and regeneration. For example, umbilical cord derived MSCs can secrete vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), which promotes the growth of new blood vessels, and transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta), which promotes the formation of new tissues. MSCs can also secrete other growth factors and cytokines that promote cell survival, proliferation, and differentiation, which can help to promote tissue repair and regeneration.
Umbilical cord derived MSCs can be used for a variety of therapeutic applications, including tissue repair and regeneration, immune modulation, and anti-inflammatory therapy. For example, MSCs have been used to treat diseases such as spinal cord injury, stroke, diabetes, and heart disease. In a clinical trial of patients with acute myocardial infarction, umbilical cord derived MSCs were transplanted into the heart muscle and were found to promote the regeneration of heart tissue, improve heart function, and reduce scar formation.
Call us to inquire as to whether stem cells can help your condition.