Where Do Doctors Get Stem Cells From

Where Do Doctors Get Stem Cells From?

Scott Brandt, M.D. Stem Cell Therapy

Although the first successful bone marrow transplant occurred in 1956, it wasn’t until a few years later that scientists came to fully understand why the procedure worked: bone marrow contains stem cells. Stem cells are the body’s original transformers. They begin as cells with no specialized function; however, they can develop into one of many different types of cells depending on certain natural or synthetic conditions

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By 1960, researchers recognized that bone marrow houses two types of stem cells: hematopoietic stem cells, which can generate all types of blood cells, including white and red blood cells, as well as platelets; and stromal (or mesenchymal) stem cells, which can generate various types of connective tissues like bones, cartilage, muscle and fat. When these scientists transplanted healthy bone marrow into diseased or otherwise compromised bodies, they found that stem cells from the healthy bone marrow could, and oftentimes would, form new blood cells in the recipient’s body, thereby ameliorating or even remedying many of the associated illnesses caused by diseased or previously absent cells. 

But stem cells aren’t only found in bone marrow. Over the following three and a half decades, research continued in the field of stem cell therapy and was again brought to the forefront of public purview in 1996 with the birth of Dolly using stem cells derived from an adult mammary gland cell. Through the extensive and continuous studies performed around the globe, we now know that stem cells come from a variety of sources, the most versatile and controversial being those obtained from embryonic blastocysts a few days after fertilization. In the United States, embryonic cells have been harvested from unused in vitro fertilization (IVF) samples and are limited in their application according to certain research and federal standards. For actual therapeutic use, most stem cells come from adult tissues (like bone marrow and adipose tissue, as mentioned above). Indeed, scientists have so invested their time and resources into effective stem cell research, that stem cells are now harvested from all over the body at all stages of development. If you’ve ever wondered where doctors get stem cells, here’s a simplified overview:

Embryonic Stem Cells

Embryonic Stem Cells are harvested from:

    • Blastocysts – Cells from embryonic blastocysts can become any type of cell in the body and, therefore, have extraordinary potential to treat aging issues, as well as all types of disease. When they need them for medical purposes, scientists and doctors get stem cells from laboratory-derived embryos. But, as mentioned, the federal government restricts funding for new embryonic stem cell lines, and thus, most embryonic stem cells are used for research purposes only.

Tissue-Specific Stem Cells

Tissue-Specific Stem Cells are harvested from postnatal and adult tissues such as: 

  • Adipose* – Mesenchymal stem cells (usually from the lower abdomen) are collected using lipoaspiration, a less painful method than harvesting bone marrow stem cells, and can be used to possibly facilitate cartilage and other tissue regeneration.

    • Bone Marrow* – As noted, bone marrow contains both mesenchymal and hematopoietic stem cells, which can be collected via a bone aspiration in the iliac crest and used to potentially repair many types of degenerative disease.

  • Amniotic Fluid – Mesenchymal stem cells are collected from a pregnant woman via amniocentesis and used to grow new tissues to repair her baby’s birth defect(s).

  • Cord Blood – Hematopoietic stem cells are collected from umbilical cord blood immediately following birth and used to treat blood cancers, anemia and inherited metabolic disorders. (Once processed, this product contains very few viable stem cells. It does contain growth factors.)

  • Cord Tissue – Mesenchymal, epithelial and endothelial stem cells are collected from umbilical cord tissue immediately following birth and can potentially be used to treat issues concerning damaged cartilage, muscle and nerve cells. (Once processed, this product contains very few viable stem cells. It does contain growth factors.)

 

  • Placental Tissue – Placental tissue has a larger volume of stem cells than cord blood, possibly making it a better source of hematopoietic and mesenchymal stem cells. Research shows that placental stem cells could be used to treat a variety of blood disorders. (Once processed, this product contains very few viable stem cells. It does contain growth factors.)

(* ThriveMD uses a combination of adipose tissue and bone marrow stem cells to treat our patients.)

 

Want More Information?

Of course, there are many other sources from which doctors can get stem cells. To learn more about stem cell treatment options, including stem cell harvesting, be sure to consult an experienced physician. Stem cell therapy is a promising procedure capable of providing relief for a variety of conditions, but it’s not the right option for everyone. Please contact our team at  ThriveMD; we will review your records, answer your questions and help you decide on the right course of action for your own unique needs.

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If you believe you or someone you care about could be a candidate for stem cell therapy administered by a trusted clinic, please contact us today.

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Linda Gerrans
Linda Gerrans
19:37 14 Dec 17
When I was told by an orthopedic doctor I needed double knee replacement I chose stem cell therapy instead. Stem cell therapy has helped me get through my days without the pain I was experiencing and enjoy the activities I was unable to because of the pain.
John Beeman
John Beeman
23:05 08 Jan 17
I just wanted to give an update regarding the stem cell procedure performed by Dr. Brandt at Thrive about 3 years ago. My range of motion continues to improve--remarkable at 64.I skied 150k in 5 days last week and never iced my knee once. I can't remember skiing that many feet w/out having to ice in the last 20 years. The knee treated has been without an acl since I was 18 and is pretty severely arthritic,but I am getting better performance now than I have in recent memory. Thank you, Dr. Brandt!!
Lisa Harris
Lisa Harris
15:59 02 Jan 17
After struggling with an Achilles injury for 1 1/2 years and trying everything to heal it - steroid, physical therapy, wearing a boot, no activity, stretching, etc - I decided to have stem cell therapy at Thrive.md. It was a short procedure and an afternoon of post op recovery, which after 6-8 weeks, resulted in a full recovery from my injury. This seemed to finally stimulate blood flow and healing to an injury I had resigned myself to having forever. I highly recommend this procedure for tendon injuries like this one.
Zvezdomir Zamfirov
Zvezdomir Zamfirov
03:55 14 Nov 16
I am a pain management physician myself. I am 52, and physically very active. I still play soccer competitively. Six months ago I suffered a hip injury with a labrum tear. Due to the pre-existing wear and tear, the only conventional treatment, which was offered to me was total hip replacement. I wanted to remain physically active and continue to play sports, so I decided that this is not the best option for me. I choose instead to try stem-cell therapy. Ten days ago I had my procedure done by Dr. Brandt, and since then I have nothing but positive things to say about him and his practice. Everyone in his office was extremely welcoming and put me at ease and comfort about my procedure. The procedure went very smooth. And I did not have ANY post procedure pain or discomfort. I had no need for any pain medication. I was back to work seeing patients on the 2nd day after the procedure. My hip already feels noticeably better. I have the second procedure scheduled in four weeks, and I am confident that in another 3-4 weeks I'll be back playing soccer again. Thank you, Dr. Brandt and team for taking such excellent care of me.
John Reilly
John Reilly
13:44 04 Nov 16
I saw Dr Brandt on 8/8/16 for a lower back stem cell injection. From the injection, I got a serious infection in my lower spine. As a result, I spent 2 days in the Vail hospital and have been on daily IV antibiotics for the past 8 weeks. A few weeks after the injection, I started feeling increased pain which was a different pain than before my injection. It was much sharper and a shooting pain. I communicated this information to Dr Brandt and his staff. There only response and treatment was stronger pain meds. oral and injected steroids (the worst thing to do when an infection is present). The pain became so intense and debilitating, I finally made an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon. Their team quickly discovered from listening to my symptoms and reviewing a new MRI that I had an infection. I also discovered from a search on DORA that over the past 13 years Dr Brandt's has a history of incidents with the DORA which regulates medical professionals. Over this time, his license was suspended for a period of time and is he currently practicing on probation through 2019. At one point, the AG said he was unfit to practice medicine.
Laurel Wilkerson
Laurel Wilkerson
21:22 08 Aug 16
Great job by the Thrive MD team in Edwards. With a torn achilles tendon, I was really opposed to surgery. When I discovered Dr. Brandt and team, I was thrilled. They are most professional and explained every step of the process and procedure for treatment options. I am on the road to recovery, and I am so thankful to have discovered Thrive. Before you let an orthopedic doc operate, take the time to explore and discuss stem cell therapy. Thrive MD made the process easy and convenient. Thanks! One year later update - ankle is doing great. Skied 52 days in 2015-16. Hiking, biking and all are no problem. Great team of caring people who know their business.
Brad Jones
Brad Jones
00:27 19 Feb 16
Dr. Brandt and his entire staff are amazing! Early in the ski season I had a partial tear in my ACL and thought I would be out until the next year for sure. However after consulting with Thrive MD they informed me that I was a good candidate for stem cell therapy. I went through the procedure and went from barely being able to walk with crutches to walking comfortably and normally within three weeks! I was back at work quickly and just got back on the mountain recently. My knee feels very solid and I have ZERO issues with it. Thank you Thrive MD for saving my ski season!
Karen Taylor
Karen Taylor
02:10 09 Dec 15
I am so happy to have found Thrive this past summer. After being told by 3 Dr's that I need a knee replacement I was feeling very discouraged. 2 1/2 years ago I had a very bad skiing accident and destroyed my tibial plateau. After surgery and physical therapy I was no where near where I wanted to be functioning physically. I couldn't hike, ski, or basically do anything active without constant pain. I went to Thrive and got my hormones balanced, got my energy level back up to where I like it to be and had several stem cell treatments on my knee. It was not an instant fix, but over the past 6 months it has continually started to feel better. I just skied 3 hard days in a row in Beaver Creek, with no swelling and very little pain! I am back to functioning at about 80% of my capacity. I'm thrilled with the progress and hope to continue to improve as I continue to be active this winter. I am so happy not to have a knee replacement and to be able to keep my own knee. Thank you Dr. Brandt.
Sylvia Baldwin
Sylvia Baldwin
00:00 26 Apr 15
Dr. Brandt is the best! I've been seeing him altogether for around 15 years now for corticosteroid injections for pain and would never want to see anyone else. He is very skilled with the needle and getting the injections done in exactly the right places. In addition, I've found Dr. Brandt to be a very concerned and caring individual; he's a great listener who clearly gives a lot of thought to what the best approach is going to be in dealing with the situation the patient describes. I've found that he always takes as much time as necessary to assess the situation; dealing with Dr. Brandt is such an entirely different experience than virtually every other meeting I've had with various surgeons and other M.D.'s. His staff is also very friendly, helpful and kind--as I said, he's the best...and well worth the drive to Edwards!
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