Get to know the 5 types of stem cells
Recently, stem cell therapy has been attracting the attention of the public and researchers alike. Thanks to their unique ability to regenerate and regulate the immune system, stem cells promise great medical potential. Unlike invasive, yet less effective methods such as surgery or laser therapy, stem cell transplantation offers hope to patients who suffer from different degenerative diseases and health conditions. Depending on the types of stem cells, specific treatment results may vary.
What are stem cells?
In short, stem cells are basic cells that can transform into other cells. They are found in all multicellular organisms, including humans at all stages of development.
In medicine, stem cells are used to repair and replace tissues that have been damaged by disease, trauma, and aging. These cells are collected from a variety of sources. In general, each type of stem cell has its own characteristics and uses.
Below are the 5 main types of stem cells used in research and treatment these days.
5 main types of stem cells
1. Embryonic stem cells
Among the different types of stem cells, these are the most controversial. As the name implies, embryonic stem cells come from blastocysts – human embryos that are only a few days old. These cells are usually collected during in vitro fertilization (IVF) and donated by the patient’s family.
The differentiation potential of embryonic stem cells is extremely high – these cells can develop into all cells needed to create a complete human body. However, they are rarely used due to the risk of tumor formation and excessive time required for culture. In addition, ethical concerns stemming from the use of human embryos are one of the other significant obstacles of embryonic stem cell therapy.
Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) are stem cells whose properties are similar to those of embryos and are collected from the patient’s own body. Collecting these cells still requires the use of blastocysts, as well as involves ethical issues.
2. Umbilical cord blood stem cells
These stem cells are harvested from the umbilical cord and placenta of healthy babies. Clinical trials have documented the use of umbilical cord blood stem cells in the treatment of blood and circulatory disorders. Because the cell source is “allogeneic” – from another person’s body, the doctor will need to determine the compatibility between the patient’s body and the donor cell source in order to avoid the risk of rejection.
Read more: Stem cell transplantation methods
3. Animal stem cells
Cell therapy is an advanced treatment, which involves the use of stem cells from animals such as rabbits and sheep. To make sure that there is no risk of infectious diseases, the sheep and rabbit placenta stem cells are processed carefully before being injected into the patient’s body.
4. Blood stem cells
Hematopoietic stem cells (blood stem cells) are collected from a patient’s blood and bone marrow. These cells can differentiate into components of the blood and make an important component in the treatment of immune disorders, blood & circulatory disorders. As they are taken from the patient’s body, the use of these stem cells dóe not involve the risk of rejection like umbilical cord blood cells.
5. Adipose stem cells
Adipose stem cells, which are derived from a patient’s fat tissue, are collected through a minimally invasive liposuction procedure. These cells can differentiate into tissues such as bone, cartilage, nerves, muscles, etc. As they are mature stem cells, the use of fat cells does not involve the risk of uncontrolled replication like embryonic cells.
Previously, bone marrow was the preferred source of collection. However, recent research shows that these cells are found more in adipose tissue and can be easily harvested without causing pain. Compared to other methods, autologous adipose stem cell therapies are relatively cheaper and do not run the risk of rejection.
Which type of stem cell is the best?
The specific answer to this question will depend on your medical condition, needs, and budget. At GO.CARE, we co-operate with some of the best stem cell centers in Asia, who have had years of experience in treating patients around the world. All 5 types of stem cells above are used by our partners; each option is recommended for a specific treatment regimen.
For more detailed information about which types of stem cells work best in your case, please contact GO.CARE via now. Our staff will contact you to provide as much assistance as possible.
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