Cell therapy has been identified as an effective method to regenerate damaged tissue. Adult stem cells, also known as somatic stem cells or resident stem cells, are a rare population of undifferentiated cells, located within a differentiated organ, in a specialized structure, called a niche, which maintains the microenvironments that regulate the growth and development of adult stem cells. The adult stem cells are self-renewing, clonogenic, and multipotent in nature, and their main role is to maintain the tissue homeostasis. They can be activated to proliferate and differentiate into the required type of cells, upon the loss of cells or injury to the tissue. Adult stem cells have been identified in many tissues including blood, intestine, skin, muscle, brain, and heart.
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There are several ways adult stem cells can be isolated, most of which are being actively explored by our researchers. Adult stem cells have been found in the brain, bone marrow , blood vessels, skeletal muscle, skin, teeth, heart, gut, liver, and other although not all organs and tissues. They are thought to live in a specific area of each tissue, where they may remain dormant for years, dividing and creating new cells only when they are activated by tissue injury, disease or anything else that makes the body need more cells. Adult stem cells can be isolated from the body in different ways, depending on the tissue. Mesenchymal stem cells , which can make bone, cartilage, fat, fibrous connective tissue, and cells that support the formation of blood can also be isolated from bone marrow. Isolating adult stem cells , however, is just the first step. The cells then need to be grown to large enough numbers to be useful for treatment purposes.
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Although commonly used and accepted, the term "adult stem cells" is a little misleading, since these cells are actually found in infants and children as well as in adults. These cells typically produce the type of tissue in which they are found. Adult stem cells are sometimes also called somatic stem cells. Various types of adult stem cells have been identified in many organs and tissues. They range from cells that are able to form many different kinds of tissues to more specialized cells that form just some of the cells of a particular tissue or organ. Mesenchymal stem cells , for example, are adult stem cells that form fat cells, cartilage, bone, tendon, ligaments, muscle cells, skin cells and even nerve cells. In contrast, hematopoietic stem cells give rise to blood cells only red cells, white cells and platelets , while neural stem cells form only cells in the nervous system. Often confused with adult stem cell , progenitor cells are early descendants of stem cells that can differentiate to form one or more kinds of cells, but cannot divide and reproduce indefinitely.
Adult stem cells are undifferentiated cells found throughout the body that divide to replenish dying cells and regenerate damaged tissues. Research into adult stem cells has been fueled by their abilities to divide or self-renew indefinitely and generate all the cell types of the organ from which they originate — potentially regenerating the entire organ from a few cells. Unlike embryonic stem cells, the use of adult stem cells in research and therapy is not controversial because the production of adult stem cells does not require the destruction of an embryo. The rigorous definition of a stem cell requires that it possesses two properties: Self-renewal - the ability to go through numerous cycles of cell division while maintaining the undifferentiated state. Multipotency or multidifferentiative potential - the ability to generate progeny of several distinct cell types, for example both glial cells and neurons, opposed to unipotency - restriction to a single-cell type. Some researchers do not consider this property essential and believe that unipotent self-renewing stem cells can exist. Stem Cell Treatments Due to the ability of adult stem cells to be harvested from the patient, their therapeutic potential is the focus of much research. Adult stem cells, similar to embryonic stem cells, have the ability to differentiate into more than one cell type, but unlike embryonic stem cells they are often restricted to certain lineages.