Stem cells are present in all of us acting like a repair system for the body. Discover the different sources of stem cells here.
But they’ve also been surrounded by controversy, and usually unjustly so.
There are many sources of stem cells in the body. Here are some of the most relevant sources of stem cells.
Sources of Stem Cells: Bone Marrow
Bone marrow is found at the center of the majority of bones. There are two types of marrow, red and yellow. Both types produce stem cells.
The stem cells found in yellow marrow are called mesenchymal stem cells, and they are destined to become bone, fat, and cartilage.
Red marrow produces hematopoietic stem cells that turn into red blood cells. Most of your body’s red blood cells are produced in the red bone marrow.
Sources of Stem Cells: Peripheral Bloodstream
Historically a bone marrow transplant of red marrow was believed to be the only way to replenish red blood cells in a person. Particularly cancer patients.
But scientists eventually discovered that not every single stem cell produced in red marrow actually becomes a red blood cell. This discovery of stem cells in the bloodstream created all types of price ranges for stem cell therapies. So some can be found floating in the bloodstream throughout the body.
These are called peripheral blood stem cells (iPSCs). These stem cells have aged, but they can be genetically recoded to their original state. Then there are procedures where peripheral blood stem cells can be extracted and transfused into medical patients.
Sources of Stem Cells: Amniotic Fluid
There are a number of stem cells found in amniotic fluid. Amniotic fluid is the liquid cushion between the fetus and the amniotic sac during gestation. The stem cells found here are generally referred to as amniotic stem cells.
These types of cells are differentiated from other types of stem cells like embryonic, but also have similarities to some adult stem cells. You can also find fetal stem cells here.
A procedure called amniocentesis allows for stem cells to be extracted from the amniotic sac without causing harm to the embryo.
Sources of Stem Cells: Umbilical Cord Blood
Umbilical cord blood can be extracted from the umbilical cord and placenta of a newborn child. Extracting stem cells this way does not harm the child or the parent that the cord and placenta come from.
This source is also promising because of the variety of different cells and components it contains. For example, you can find both red and white cells, hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), fetal stem cells, immune cells, plasma and more.
Sources of Stem Cells: Human Embryo
Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) come from human embryos. The human embryo is one of the more controversial sources of stem cells. This is because the primary way to get access to human embryos is through abortion.
What makes these cells so promising is that they can develop into any of the over 200 types of cells in adult human bodies. This gives them potential use in fighting a variety of diseases and medical conditions like Parkinson’s, genetic diseases and more.
Understanding Stem Cells
This list only scratches the surface of the different sources of stem cells. Stem cells can be sourced from adults to the very beginning stages of human life.
The possibilities for advancing science and curing a multitude of ailments is astounding.
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