Adult Stem Cells
What is an adult stem cell?
An adult stem cell is a cell that can renew itself as well as transform into some or all of the major specialized cell types of the tissue or organ. Autologous adult stem cells are an individual’s own cells, removed and stored, then returned to the body. There are no ethical or religious issues surrounding adult stem cell removal nor are there concerns of autologous adult stem cell rejection.
Collection of Adult Stem Cells
How are adult stem cells extracted and stored?
NeoStem®, a supporter of the Stem for Life Foundation, takes great pride in the fact that they are the first to provide the general adult population with an opportunity to have its stem cells collected and stored for future medical use, should the need arise. Historically, the most commonly used procedure to obtain bone marrow stem cells was a procedure known as “bone marrow aspiration”. Most of the time, this procedure is performed under general anesthesia and can involve a significant amount of pain and discomfort.
NeoStem makes it easy and relatively painless. Advances in technology allow NeoStem to increase the number of stem cells in your peripheral (circulating) blood. The process is called mobilization. Mobilization temporarily causes stem cells residing in your bone marrow, to migrate into the peripheral blood (a process that occurs naturally in the body when there is stress or injury).
Once you have completed mobilization, the next step is apheresis. Apheresis is a painless and safe procedure (similar to donating blood) which separates and collects, through a sterile, closed and disposable system, the stem cells from your peripheral blood. The remaining cells are immediately returned to you.
The collection process usually lasts about 4 hours, during which time you are in a comfortable, relaxing, reclined position, enjoying a great movie on a flat screen television, enjoying your favorite music with your own headphones, or even working on your laptop. This procedure takes place in a NeoStem® approved collection facility.
After the collection, approximately 50% of the collection is stored in an immune reconstitution bag and can be used should you be diagnosed with a stem cell treatable cancer, or become the victim of radiation or chemical exposure and require an immune system transplantation. The remaining ASCs are stored in up to 20 separate containers, which may be used for new regenerative medicine therapies in the future. All stem cells are stored and tracked through a system designed to return stem cells only to the patient from whom they were collected.
Once your stem cells are safely stored in a state of the art cryo-preservation tank, they will be available for the rest of your life. Studies have shown that stem cells preserve quite well and only very small amounts of your banked stem cells may lose viability throughout the course of the long term storage.
Storage of Adult Stem Cells
Why bank your cells?
Planning for the Future of Your Health
Just as you would plan for your financial future, you can plan for your health future by storing your stem cells for your own use. Regardless of your age, you can choose to collect your Adult Stem Cells and store them so that your stem cells will be available for your use if needed in the future. The time for collection is NOW, when you’re healthy and unlikely to have stem cells already programmed for disease.
Why should you choose stem cell storage if you are healthy? It is difficult to determine when you will become ill or be stricken with a serious disease. A healthy person is a better candidate for Adult Stem Cell collection and storage for the same reasons that healthy people are better candidates for any medical procedure. They are generally free from chronic diseases, and their stem cells, having experienced fewer divisions, have a lower likelihood of somatic mutations. As you age, so do your cells, resulting in a steady decline in your cells’ efficacy, efficiency and population. Collecting your cells TODAY, rather than later, ensures the storage of your “youngest” and “healthiest” possible cells.
Collection of your healthy adult stem cells prior to the disease process is important in order to avoid infusing cells that may already be damaged. Adults with a family history of cardiac disease, diabetes, cancer, neurologic diseases or autoimmune disorders should take advantage of this opportunity to protect themselves now, while they are healthy. Many people diagnosed with a disease requiring a bone marrow transplant are unable to find a healthy match, and if you are an ethnic minority, the chances of finding a suitable donor can be as low as 1–5%.
Storing your stem cells now assures your own stem cells will be available, if needed, in the future to treat a chronic or catastrophic illness.
There are many clinical and economic advantages to autologous stem cell transplantation (receiving your own stem cells) as there are no issues with immune rejection. Engraftment with your own stem cells is faster, safer and much less costly than receiving someone else’s stem cells (allogeneic).Stem cell based therapies, such as bone marrow transplant, have been around for over 40 years as treatment for cancer and anemia. There has been an increase in adult stem cell therapy clinical trials which are showing great promise in the areas of skin and wound healing, orthopedics, and in treating diseases including peripheral vascular disease, scleroderma, diabetes, congestive heart failure, myocardial infarction, and much more. Industry sources estimates that the global stem cell product market is expected to reach $88 billion by 2014.