What are Stem Cells?

By The Medical City , | July 08, 2016


What are Stem Cells?
by Michelle De Vera, M.D., FAAAAI

You’ve learned about stem cells in the news or through some people, and perhaps you’ve wondered if they might help you or a loved one with a serious disease. You may wonder what stem cells are, how they’re being used to treat disease and injury, and why they’ve attracted such great attention and interest.

So what are stem cells? Stem cells are a population of unspecialized cells capable of renewing themselves, sometimes even after long periods of inactivity. They are present in many tissues and organs in the body, such as the blood, bone marrow, umbilical cord, blood vessels, brain tissue, skin, liver, adipose (fat) tissue, and muscles, among others.Their main function is to serve as an internal repair and regeneration system for our cells and organs.

Regardless of age and health status, all of us have populations of stem cells in our body. Under certain conditions, from being immature cells, they can transform into these tissue-specific cells with specialized functions. It is this ability to become more specialized cells for regeneration that makes therapy with stem cells very promising.

Several sources of stem cells have been identified for use in medical therapy. Embryonic stem cells, initially a popular choice because of their tremendous potential, have become a controversial option. Being dynamic enough to develop into any other cell population (as the embryo is the precursor to the fetus), these cells are regarded to be the most potent of stem cells. Its omnipotence gives embryonic stem cells its enormous potency; but alsobestows it with its greatestdanger.

Multiple studies have shown that there is a established risk of forming new tumors in patients when given these stem cells. There are likewise moral and ethical issues related to using embryonic stem cells. At present, the Department of Health (DOH) has decreed that the use of embryonic stem cells in the Philippines is illegal.

Another source is to use adult stem cells, which are cells found in tissues already differentiated. These cells are relatively easy to collect, and can be obtained from peripheral blood, the bone marrow, and from umbilical blood and cord material during birth. Though these cells are already specialized to an extent, studies have shown that they still have the ability to differentiate into cells other than their original lineage. They also have special capabilities including release of certain factors and signaling molecules that help to repair and regenerate cells and tissues. Many of these sources have been in use for more than 50 years, and have not been shown to produce new cancers.

At the Institute of Personalized Molecular Medicine (IPMM) of The Medical City (TMC), stem cells are collected and processed only from adult cell populations, in accordance with local and global safety regulatory standards.

Peripheral blood stem cells are collected via leukapheresis, which is a process similar to blood donation. Bone marrow-derived stem cells are collected by bone marrow aspiration usually under local anesthesia. Umbilical cord-derived stem cells are collected and processed from the umbilical cord blood, umbilical veins and arteries, Wharton’s Jelly, and inner portions of placenta, amniotic membrane from placenta lining, which would ordinarily be discarded after delivery of the baby.

Currently, there is enough evidence that the collection and administration of these cells are relatively safe. They have been used in different clinical trials with positive results for different diseases, including cancers, degenerative and immune disorders.

About IPMM

IPMM is a unit of The Medical City focused on the ethical delivery of personalized molecular medicine treatments. The backbone of the IPMM is Regenerative Medicine, a revolutionary field involving the engineering of cells and other biomaterials with the goals of restoring organ function lost or impaired due to disease or injury, and improving the quality of life.

IPMM is one of the very few accredited Human Stem Cell and Cell-based Therapy Programs in the country, with accreditation granted by the Department of Health in in November 2014.

For appointments and inquiries, please call TMC-IPMM at (632) 988 1000 / (632) 988 7000 loc 6307 / 6551, or visit www.themedicalcity.com.



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What are Stem Cells?

By The Medical City ,

July 08, 2016


What are Stem Cells?
by Michelle De Vera, M.D., FAAAAI

You’ve learned about stem cells in the news or through some people, and perhaps you’ve wondered if they might help you or a loved one with a serious disease. You may wonder what stem cells are, how they’re being used to treat disease and injury, and why they’ve attracted such great attention and interest.

So what are stem cells? Stem cells are a population of unspecialized cells capable of renewing themselves, sometimes even after long periods of inactivity. They are present in many tissues and organs in the body, such as the blood, bone marrow, umbilical cord, blood vessels, brain tissue, skin, liver, adipose (fat) tissue, and muscles, among others.Their main function is to serve as an internal repair and regeneration system for our cells and organs.

Regardless of age and health status, all of us have populations of stem cells in our body. Under certain conditions, from being immature cells, they can transform into these tissue-specific cells with specialized functions. It is this ability to become more specialized cells for regeneration that makes therapy with stem cells very promising.

Several sources of stem cells have been identified for use in medical therapy. Embryonic stem cells, initially a popular choice because of their tremendous potential, have become a controversial option. Being dynamic enough to develop into any other cell population (as the embryo is the precursor to the fetus), these cells are regarded to be the most potent of stem cells. Its omnipotence gives embryonic stem cells its enormous potency; but alsobestows it with its greatestdanger.

Multiple studies have shown that there is a established risk of forming new tumors in patients when given these stem cells. There are likewise moral and ethical issues related to using embryonic stem cells. At present, the Department of Health (DOH) has decreed that the use of embryonic stem cells in the Philippines is illegal.

Another source is to use adult stem cells, which are cells found in tissues already differentiated. These cells are relatively easy to collect, and can be obtained from peripheral blood, the bone marrow, and from umbilical blood and cord material during birth. Though these cells are already specialized to an extent, studies have shown that they still have the ability to differentiate into cells other than their original lineage. They also have special capabilities including release of certain factors and signaling molecules that help to repair and regenerate cells and tissues. Many of these sources have been in use for more than 50 years, and have not been shown to produce new cancers.

At the Institute of Personalized Molecular Medicine (IPMM) of The Medical City (TMC), stem cells are collected and processed only from adult cell populations, in accordance with local and global safety regulatory standards.

Peripheral blood stem cells are collected via leukapheresis, which is a process similar to blood donation. Bone marrow-derived stem cells are collected by bone marrow aspiration usually under local anesthesia. Umbilical cord-derived stem cells are collected and processed from the umbilical cord blood, umbilical veins and arteries, Wharton’s Jelly, and inner portions of placenta, amniotic membrane from placenta lining, which would ordinarily be discarded after delivery of the baby.

Currently, there is enough evidence that the collection and administration of these cells are relatively safe. They have been used in different clinical trials with positive results for different diseases, including cancers, degenerative and immune disorders.

About IPMM

IPMM is a unit of The Medical City focused on the ethical delivery of personalized molecular medicine treatments. The backbone of the IPMM is Regenerative Medicine, a revolutionary field involving the engineering of cells and other biomaterials with the goals of restoring organ function lost or impaired due to disease or injury, and improving the quality of life.

IPMM is one of the very few accredited Human Stem Cell and Cell-based Therapy Programs in the country, with accreditation granted by the Department of Health in in November 2014.

For appointments and inquiries, please call TMC-IPMM at (632) 988 1000 / (632) 988 7000 loc 6307 / 6551, or visit www.themedicalcity.com.


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