Some Adult Stem Cell types can differentiate into cell types that can be seen in tissues or organs as opposed to those expected from the cells predicted lineage, this phenomenon is known as Transdifferentiating. A case of this type is Brain Stem cells that can differentiate into blood cells that can differentiate into cardiac muscle cells, and so on.
The bone marrow contains Mononuclear Cells, Hematopoietic Stem Cells, Endothelial and Precursor Progenitor Cells and Mesenchymal Stem Cells, all of which assist in cell repair in healthy patients. Bone marrow blood, which is rich in Hematopoietic and Mesenchymal Stem Cells, is extracted from various locations in the body and then transfused back into the patient. These same Stem Cells deliver tropical factors that support neuronal cell survival and induce endogenous cell growth and proliferation plus they inhibit neuro inflammation. Mesenchymal stromal/Stem Cells show great promise for autoimmune disorders as well as heart and neurological ones.
Since the late 60’s, Adult Stem Cells (more specifically Blood Stem Cells) have been used for bone marrow transplant, not to mention for treatments of brain disorders like Parkinson disease, and recently there are clinical trials of neural Stem Cells for spina cord injury. These types of cells give a more natural repair mechanism for our body, being a natural solution for the benefit of the tissues. The difference between Adult Stem Cells and Embryonic Stem Cells is that the first ones belong in the microenvironment of an adult body while the second ones are in the microenvironment of the early embryo.
Adult Stem Cells therapies are being developed all the time, beneficiating the health of more than one million patients worldwide. Among the diseases and disorders treated with Adult Stem Cells therapy one can find: Brain cancer, Retinoblastoma, Ovarian cancer, Skin cancer, Testicular cancer, tumors, Lymphomas (Hodgkin’s and Non-Hodgkin’s), Multiple Myeloma, Myelodysplasia, Breast cancer, Neuroblastoma and Renal cell carcinoma.
There is approximately one Adult Stem Cell for every 100,000 other cells, making the Adult Stem Cell the smallest type of cells to exist in our body, although it can be found in many tissues. Researchers use a unique protein located on the surface of the cells, called receptors, to identify them from the other cells. These receptors transport chemical messages from other cells as part of cell-to-cell communication, so researchers usually “tag” these messages on the Stem Cell with fluorescent molecules. When these molecules bind to the receptor on the surface of the Stem Cell, it will light up with a fluorescent color, so it can be identified and isolated.
Another capacity of Adult Stem Cells is the plasticity, which consists in the appearance of other types of cells that can be generated by Adult Stem Cells; for example, liver cells that can be coaxed to produce insulin, which is normally produced by the pancreas.
So there is still a lot to be discovered by these amazing type of Stem Cells that in the recent year have saved many lives and will continue healing and helping the health of many patients.