What are Stem Cells and Are They Necessary to Heal?

The body's raw materials — cells from which all other cells with special functions are generated

There is a growing phenomenon happening in the medical world. So much hope has been placed in stem cell treatment from conditions across the board such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, heart failure, and musculoskeletal conditions.

What is a stem cell? The truest simplest definition is the body’s raw materials — cells from which all other cells with special functions are generated. A stem cell can take two paths: either renew itself or become a specialized cell like blood, brain, heart, bone. There is no other cell in the body that has the natural ability to generate new cell types.

Stem cell therapy, also known as regenerative medicine, promotes the reparative response of diseased, dysfunctional or injured tissue using stem cells or their derivatives.

In the context of utilizing in musculoskeletal conditions like spinal disc, rotator cuff, knee meniscus, typically what is done to assist healing is via growth factor that message your own body’s stem cells to start producing the necessary substances to heal the affected area. Platelet-rich plasma, alpha 2 macroglobulin plasma concentrate (A2M) and most amniotic fluids do not have any actual stem cells. However, we are finding that is not necessary to heal pathology. In fact, scientists are finding the stem cells present in bone marrow (mesenchymal stem cells) actually die in a few days right after they have signaled to the body’s own stem cells to start the process of healing.

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