Adult Stem Cells: The Future Of Tissue Healing
By Dr. Mark Pinsky // July 30, 2014
Adult Stem Cells Replenish Dying Cells And Regenerate Damaged Tissues
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA — Usually, when we get sick, somewhere in our body some of our cells are injured.
Injured cells make us sick – heart cells in a heart attack, liver cells in hepatitis, brain cells in a stroke, stomach cells in peptic ulcers, cartilage cells in arthritic joints, etc. We get well again, if and only if, the body can replace those injured cells with new ones.
STEM CELLS ESSENTIAL FOR HEALING
That’s where adult stem cells (ASC) come into play. We now know that injured cells actually send out a chemical signal that activates the ASC healing system. Production of ASCs in bone marrow is stimulated by this chemical signal causing an elevation in the ASC blood count measurable by special blood tests.
The injured cell chemical signal draws the ASCs into the injured tissues by a process called “homing” or chemotaxis and further stimulates them to clean out the injured tissue debris and to transform into whatever cell type is needed in the injured tissues – brain cells in stroke, heart cells in a myocardial infarction, cartilage in injured joints. ASCs multiply by cell division to replenish dying cells and regenerate damaged tissues.
This transformation of ASCs into cells needed to replace injured cells is what makes a stem cell a stem cell. ASCs are how we heal, it’s as simple as that.
DISEASES AMENABLE TO ASC THERAPY
We know for example that after a stroke, if the ASC blood count does not rise beyond a certain threshold the patient will not recover the neurological defect inflicted by the stroke. Unfortunately, as we age our ability to mount a strong ASC response against disease diminishes, and our ASC blood count is less likely to get high enough to replace all the injured cells needed to reestablish health of the diseased injured tissue.
Researchers have been testing the idea of putting healthy ASCs into patients’ blood when they get chronically ill. Much of this work has been done overseas in the past 10 years with wonderful results. Diseases that are particularly amenable to this type of therapy and include, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, autism, spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, heart disease and osteoarthritis.
ASC THERAPY ON THE CUSP OF APPROVAL
Many of the ASC techniques are working their way through the FDA approval process and will begin to be available soon in America, which is why it is incumbent on all physicians to familiarize themselves with the accumulation of excellent peer reviewed information on the subject. ASC medicine will soon affect all our practices and many of our patients in the not too distant future.
ASCs UNRELATED TO EMBRYONIC STEM CELLS
It is important to distinguish these healing functions of ASCs from the unrelated type of stem cells called embryonic stem cells (ESC), which are dangerous and of dubious moral and ethical standing. I think Dr. David Stroncek from the National Institute of Health (NIH) said it best in his article in the Journal of Translational Medicine 2011, “… embryonic stem cells are extremely expensive and potentially dangerous, while adult stem cells are inexpensive and have an excellent safety record when used in humans… adult stem cells are a practical, patient-applicable, therapeutics that are very close to being available for incorporation into the practice of medicine.”
ASCs: READILY AVAILABLE UNIVERSAL DONOR CELLS
ASCs are obtained under strict laboratory conditions from the afterbirth of healthy deliveries.
The baby goes home with mommy and the doctors take the valuable placenta ASC to safely treat hundreds of patients. The ASCs from this source are universal donor cells that can be given safely to anyone needing them without immune suppression of any kind.
As a physician, I know that many of my patients will greatly benefit from ASC treatments, which I am happy to report seem to be just around the corner. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that we turn that corner soon.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Mark Pinsky is an affiliate of MDVIP and is board certified in family medicine by the American Academy of Family Medicine. He completed his doctorate degree from the University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine in Kansas City, Missouri. His family practice residency was served at the University of Louisville in Kentucky. In addition, Dr. Pinsky completed a sports medicine fellowship in Cleveland, Ohio, with Lutheran Medical Center in conjunction with Horizon Orthopedics, the team physicians for the Cleveland Indians. He also has a certificate of additional qualifications in sports medicine from the American Academy of Family Practice. Dr. Pinsky speaks nationally for several pharmaceutical companies and serves as the medical director for a home health care agency. Currently he is caring for Viera High athletes and is a partner of Medical Associates of Brevard. To reach Dr. Pinsky, call 321-255-2289.