Understanding the Different Types of Stem Cells

Stem cell advances, Different types of stem cells, Understanding the Different Types of Stem Cells

The exciting field of stem cells is opening up as researchers in regenerative and integrative medicine continue to make new discoveries. But what exactly are stem cells, and how can they be used to create cures for illness and disease?

Different types of stem cells

Stem cell variations are vastly complicated, but a simplified take is that there are three main types of stem cells. These include:

Adult stem cells

Adult stem cells, or ASCs, are also known as somatic stem cells. They are undifferentiated, and live throughout the body, ready to renew themselves or multiply if needed to replenish damaged tissue in the body.

These stem cells are present during your entire lifetime, and can be easily found and extracted from tissues including the umbilical cord, placenta, bone marrow, brain, muscle, fat, and skin.

ASCs were the first stem cell types extracted from the human body; they were used to create new blood cells in the 1940s, and ASC cells from bone marrow have been used to treat blood diseases since the 1960s. There are many sub-types of ASCs including:

At Integrated Medical Solutions of Knoxville, Dr. Shreve can inject stem cells to relieve pain and help regenerate damaged tissue.

Embryonic stem cells

Embryonic stem cells, or ESCs, are only found in the first stages of development, and are obtained from in vitro fertilized embryo samples that are donated for research purposes after informed consent about their use.

These are also known as pluripotent stem cells, and have the ability to become almost any type of cell. Researchers hope to be able to learn how to grow all kinds of tissue to help people who need skin grafts, a new kidney or liver, and other organs.

Someday you could be a transplant recipient of an organ created in a lab — no need for another person to die, and no waiting list!

Induced pluripotent stem cells

Induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPSCs, are created in a laboratory by introducing embryonic genes into a somatic cell. This causes the adult cell to revert back to a stem cell state. iPSCs have already been used as tools for drug development and the modeling of diseases. Stem cell scientists hope to use these in transplantation medicine as well.

Stem cell advances

More ways to locate, extract, and use stem cells for regenerative medicine are being discovered annually. In 2016, a device called Lipogems was developed, which allows a patient’s own fat cells to provide a potential source of stem cells and growth factors to promote healing. This device is currently being used in arthroscopic procedures for orthopedic patients to improve outcomes during joint surgery.

If you have soft tissue damage or joint pain, ask Dr. Shreve about stem cell therapy. Call our Knoxville, TN, offices at 855-210-8070 for an appointment today or request an appointment online.   

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