What Stem Cells?

We basically have two sources of stem cells.  One is from the patient which are extracted, processed, then re-infused into a joint, or whatever.  These are called Autologous Stem Cells.

The other source is from another, called Allogeniec Stem Cells.

When the stem cells are harvested from the patient, there is two ways of getting these.  One is via a bone marrow aspiration.  Here a needle is placed, most often in the posterior iliac crest (back side).  The Bone marrow is aspirated and processed.  As an oncologist for 32 years, I did a lot of bone marrows (all of my patients with leukemia, Hosdgkins, Lymphomas, and some other solid tumors).  I will tell you, no one volunteerred to have this done again due to the discomfort.

The other site for harvesting stem cells from oneself is through fat aspiration.  Here the fat is harvesting and processed to separate the stem cells.  This is not a cheap process.

The problem with harvesting stem cells from the patient is as we grow older, we have fewer and fewer stem cells.  I am 66 years old.  The charts show that about 1 out of 2 million cells are stem cells in my body.  We lose many of our stem cells after reaching age 20 years.

The other source for stem cells is Allogenic source, from another.

In the 1990s, stem cells were in the news a lot.  These were derived from aborted fetuses.  Real ethical concerns were raised by many.  You should know, these are illegal in the United States for the past twenty years.

So, what is another source of stem cells?  Well, let's go to the birthig process.  Two options are here.  The first is using Amniotic Stem Cells.  Remember biology?  The baby grows inthe uterus and is enclosed by the amniotic membraine.  Within this sac is the baby and amniotic fluid.  At birth, a needle is introduced into the amniotic sac andthe fluid is removed.  Within this are many stem cells.  The problem is that there are other cells in the fluid which contain HLA antigen.  When these are administered with the stem cells, some people will have a rejection reaction.

ANother source is using the stem cells from umbiliical cords which are harvested at birth.  There many more stem cells inthe umbilical cord than the amniotic fluid, and more importantly, there are no cells with the HLA antigen.  Therefore, we see no rejections of the stem cell therapy when the cells are harvested fro mthe umbilical cords.

Both Amniotic and Umbilical Cord stem cells are harvested at birth, in planned C-Sections.  These births must be planned, as it gives the medical personnel time to insure that both mom and the baby are free of illnesses.  It cannot be a suprise C-Section, or a vaginal birth.  The vaginal birth is ruled out on 2 accounts.  (1) With a vaginal birth, one never really knows when the birth will occurs, and (2) the cord can be damaged at time of birth.

So, with these two options for stem cells, there are no ethical concerns, as present in the 1990's when stem cells were havested from fetues.  And, the cell number is absolutelythe highest at time of birth, making treatments so much more effective.

The centers with whom we are associated all use umbilical cord stem cells.

Click here to see a short video.

Author
Roy Hall MD Dr. Hall is the owner of Mountain Health Functional Medicine, located in Billings, MT. He is a certified practitioner of Functional Medicine through the Institute for Functional Medicine.

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