What Are Stem Cells?

Stem cells are the body’s repair cells.  They can both proliferate and differentiate into other cells and tissues when they receive signals from damaged tissue.  There are two types of stem cells: embryonic and adult mesenchymal.  The use of embryonic stem cells in regenerative medicine pose certain ethical considerations that restrict their use; they are also “allogeneic”, which means that they are not taken from the patient’s own body, which poses its own safety and efficacy concerns. They are irradiated prior to leaving the processing facility, and so are not “live” cells when received for treatment.

In contrast, adult mesenchymal cells, when used in regenerative medicine, are “autologous” in that they are sourced from the patient’s own body.  These cells are found all over the body in various tissues and can differentiate into bone, cartilage, muscle, nerve tissue, blood vessels, connective tissue and fat.

Bone marrow has historically been a common source of adult mesenchymal stem cells in regenerative medicine and is still used today in many clinics. At the Ontario Stem Cell Treatment Centre, we offer an exciting new method of obtaining adult mesenchymal stem cells from a patient’s own fat (adipose tissue), which is very rich in stem cells.  This makes it possible to shorten the treatment program and significantly increase the number of stem cells made available for repair during treatment.