Human Tissue Sample Blog

10 Unexpected Uses for Adult Stem Cells

Posted by Luke Doiron on Dec 23, 2014 6:00:00 AM



Adult pluripotent stem cells have the advantage of avoiding ethical issues associated with the use of other human cells. According to a recent article published in the Encyclopedia of Molecular Cell Biology and Molecular Medicine, adult autologous pluripotent stem cells can be used for transplants that avoid tissue rejection making transplantation possible without the use of immunosuppressive drugs, which are not without their own side effects. This rapidly progressing field within regenerative medicine has the potential to revolutionize the treatment of genetic and somatic human diseases. By selectively targeting diseased tissue (such as beta cells of the pancreas), and replacing them with genetically programmed stem cells, there is hope for the damaged cells to regenerate.

There are many ways in which adult stem cells can be used in research and clinical applications alike. Genetically and biologically “engineering” adult stem cells from pluripotent stem cell lines into specific cell types creates the potential for tissue regeneration. This is perhaps the most important application at this time.

The following are some examples of potential therapeutic uses for adult stem cells:

  1. Macular degeneration
  2. Type 1 Diabetes
  3. Irritable bowel disease
  4. Bladder disease
  5. Cardiac disease
  6. Osteoarthritis
  7. Burns
  8. Stroke
  9. Spinal cord injury or disease
  10. Rheumatoid arthritis

Researchers have recently located a particular type of stem cell found in the bone marrow that can migrate to the intestine and create healthy intestinal cells. It is theorized that these may potentially restore healthy tissue in patients suffering with Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Another example is the recent discovery that stem cells can be “redirected” to differentiate into insulin producing beta cells, which could be transplanted into patients with Type-1 diabetes, a disease where their own immune system has knocked out the beta cells of the pancreas and renders the patient’s complete reliance on insulin injections to control blood sugar.

Adult stem cells can modulate the immune and inflammatory responses to promote wound healing, which would be of particular value in the treatment of burn patients, which is an attractive therapeutic tool. A subpopulation of bone marrow cells can integrate into the healed wound and play a useful role as antigen presenting cells, which would help in the vascularization of the newly regenerated skin.

The applications of stem cell therapy are far reaching and researchers are moving ever closer to clinical applications, though there is significant work to be done on the practicality of the application. There is reason for optimism in the area of adult stem cell applications.

We have access to a wide variety of donors and can rapidly supply you with the type of bone marrow specimens you need to advance your research: fresh marrow, bone marrow mononuclear cells (BMMCs), as well as isolated CD34+ and CD 138+ from normal bone marrow.

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Topics: Cancer, Stem Cells, Immunology