Stem cells are cells that have the capacity to regenerate and replicate itself as well as to differentiate into many other specialised cells and tissues in the body. The role of them is to provide new cells to replace the old, dying and damaged ones every day. When they are diminished in our body then the number of old cells dying each day will exceed the new ones generated. This will manifest clinically as the effects of aging. That is why increase the number of them in the body may potentially be a new method to combat the effects of aging.
Stem cell therapy has proven to be effective for tissue restoration, and integrated care for the incurable and obstinate diseases. These cells, regardless of their source, share two characteristic properties as below:
- They have the capacity for prolonged or unlimited self-renewal under controlled conditions.
- They retain the potential to differentiate into a variety of more specialized cell types.
Basically, there are few known types of stem cells available:
a) Embryonic Stem Cells – The stem cells that arise during the first days of mammalian embryonic development. These are usually derived from the inner cell mass of the pre-implantation embryo, at the blastocyst stage.
b) Fetal Stem Cells – Primitive cell types found in the organs of fetuses. Neural crest stem cells, fetal hematopoietic stem cells and pancreatic islet progenitors have been isolated in abortuses.
c) Umbilical Cord Stem Cells – Umbilical Cord’s matrix termed Wharton’s jelly has been a source for isolation of adult mesenchymal stem cells.
d) Adult Stem Cells– There are two major type of Adult Stem Cells:
(i) Haematopoietic Stem Cell – found in bone marrow and peripheral blood
(ii) Mesenchymal Stem Cell – Found in bone marrow, fat and, others tissues.
What type of stem cells are we using?
The best source of stem cells is our own cells. However this is not always possible due to the effects of aging as mention in Hayflick Limit and disease including cancer and infections. Furthermore the older we get, the slower our stem cells appear to be active. Therefore in order to obtain the richest and most energetic stem cells it is best to obtain from the youngest possible donor —in this case from the umbilical cord tissue of the newborn child. These are not embryonic or fetal stem cells but young adult stem cells left discarded behind in the umbilical cord.
From the newborn child we are able to determine the family history of the child’s parents and grandparents and exclude donors that may be at risk of cancer, infections, genetic and chromosomal disorders and cardiovascular disease. Furthermore we can ensure that the stem cells have not been exposed to cancer-causing carcinogens found in foodstuff and the environment, unlike grown-up adult donors. Therefore the umbilical cord represents the best source of non-embryonic human stem cells compared to grown-up adults.
Why we do not use Fetal Stem Cell :
- Fetal Stem Cells are utterly unethical since they are obtained from aborting an unborn child.
- Fetal Stem Cells are characterized as uncontrolled in growth which may cause tumors inside the body and are not considered safe as a result.