What are Stem cells
The human body is made up of a large number of different types of cells, each with specialised functions. These cells make up our tissues and organs which keep the human body functioning. All of these cells originate from stem cells.
Stem cells are not specialised but are capable of renewing and differentiation:
- Renewal: A stem cell is capable of producing more cells which is simply by dividing into two identical daughter cells that are capable of further division
- Differentiation: Is the process of cell obtaining a specialised character. When a cell is differentiated it means that the cell is capable of performing a specialised function
Originally, scientist thought that stem cells were only found in the early embryo, but over the last decades it became apparent that these remarkable cells can be found in adult tissues too.
Adult stem cells are responsible for maintaining our organs in optimal health and offer the potential to stimulate repair and regeneration of failing organs due to disease or ageing.
Adult stem cells offer great therapeutic promise for a diverse range of medical applications.
Adult stem cells can be derived from different tissues of the body including bone marrow, blood, fat, dental pulp, placenta, liver and other tissues.
These cells are commonly termed as mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs).
MSCs can propagate and maintain in culture for long periods of time without or with minimal changes in their capacity to proliferate and differentiate.
MSCs of different origins have have different capabilities in terms of their number, ability to differentiate and ability to proliferate.
The most studied of MSCs are those isolated from bone marrow and adipose tissues.
MSCs rare rare in bone marrow – constituting only 0.002% of total stromal cell population.
In SVF obtained from adipose tissue MSCs constitute nearly 2% of the cell population. This makes fat the most versatile source of stem cells. It means that there are 100-1000 times more stem cells in fat than bone marrow.