Regenerative medicine is the process of replacing, renewing or engineering human cells, tissues, organs, proteins, etc for the purposes of restoring function and homeostasis in the body. It uses any means to heal otherwise nonfunctional cells, tissues and organs. One of the key components of regenerative medicine is the use of cell replacement strategies which usually requires stem cells.
What are Stem Cells?
A Look Back: The History of Stem Cell
How Do Stem Cells Function?
Stem cells have the capacity to migrate to injured tissues, a phenomenon called homing. This occurs by injury/disease signals that are released from the distressed cells/tissue. Once stem cells are delivered to a site of injury or deployed into the blood stream they go to these distressed signals and dock on adjacent cells to commence performing their job.
1. Serve as a cell replacement where they change into the needed cell type such as a muscle cell. This is ideal for traumatic injuries and orthopedic indications.
2. They do not express specific HLAs which help them avoid the immune system. In fact, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) do this so well that they are in clinical studies for graft vs host disease and have been approved for pediatric graft vs host disease in Canada. These studies and data support the notion that the cells are safe to use as an “off the shelf” product such as LIVEYONs product (add link to article that is presently in this area now here).
3. They dock on an adjacent cell and release proteins called growth factors, cytokines and chemokines. These factors help control many aspects systemically.
i. Control the immune system and regulate inflammation which is a key mediator of diseases of aging and autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.
ii. Help to increase new blood vessel formation which aids in adding vasculature so that tissues can receive proper blood flow and the correct nutrients needed to heal such is the case in stroke, peripheral artery disease and heart disease.
iii. Provide trophic support for surrounding tissues and help host endogenous repair. This works great when used for orthopedics as it causes signals to be released which may now activate your own stem cells to repair a knee for instance. In case of diabetes, it may help any remaining beta cells to reproduce or function optimally.
Here’s How It Works:
- Participating hospitals invite screened mothers expecting normal, healthy births to donate the resulting umbilical cord tissues. These otherwise discarded tissues are an excellent source of high-quality stem cells and growth factors which may be used in regenerative medicine. At the time of birth, a specialized nurse enters the delivery room to carry out the extraction procedures. The umbilical cord tissue and blood is extracted and taken to the lab which follows cGMP and GTP procedures. From here the regenerative medicine product is made.
- All the tissues obtained are screened under AATB standards in order to assure the highest quality product.