Adult Stem Cells

In orthopaedics, adult stem cells, also known as somatic stem cells, are derived from a patient's own body, not from fetal or embryonic sources.

The debate over biotechnology and human genetics centers around the current and future use of stem cells, as well as the misconceptions regarding the applications of embryonic and adult stem cells. While embryonic stem cells are procured from a developing embryo at the blastocyst stage, adult stem cells are found in all tissues of the growing human being, with the potential to transform into most of the other cell types, or remain as stem cells with greater reproductive capacity.

In adult organisms, stem cells and progenitor cells act as a repair system for the body, replenishing specialized cells, but also maintaining the normal turnover of regenerative organs, such as blood, skin, liver, bone and cartilage.

In the adult body, there are pockets of stem cells: in the bone marrow, body fat, and other places to help the body heal tissue that is wounded or damaged. In orthopaedics, most adult stem cells are harvested from the patientís own bone marrow.

Bone Marrow, which is the soft, sponge-like material found inside bones, contains immature cells known as hematopoietic or blood-forming stem cells, and stromal or tissue-forming cells. Hematopoietic stem cells divide to form more blood-forming stem cells, or they mature into one of three types of blood cells: white blood cells, which fight infection; red blood cells, which carry oxygen; and platelets, which help the blood to clot. Stromal cells have the ability to develop into specialized cells that make bone, cartilage, muscle, tendons, ligaments and fibrous tissue.