5 Misconceptions About Adult Stem Cells

by Lake Nona Medical Arts

If you feel confused about adult-derived stem cells, you’re not alone. Many people are unclear of how cells differ based on whether they are adult, embryonic, or come from the umbilical cord of a newborn baby. This confusion causes them to believe common misconceptions that could prevent them from realizing the full benefit of adult stem cells.

An adult stem cell is undifferentiated, which means that it is located in differentiated cells in the major organs and tissues of the body. It is capable of self-renewal and can yield to some or all the most prominent types of cells in an organ or tissue. The main job of adult stem cells is to repair and maintain the tissues where they are located.

Even though adult-derived stem cells and stem cells in general offer tremendous promise in the treatment of previous incurable diseases, many misconceptions persist about them. Below are five of the most common myths debunked.

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  1. All Stem Cells Originate in Fetuses

This is probably the most persistent misconception about stem cell treatment. The reality is that no commercially available stem cell therapies come from embryos or fetuses. That is because medical researchers are shifting their attention to stem cells found in gestational tissues as well as adult donors or autologous stem cells. Gestational tissues like umbilical cords, placentas and amniotic fluid is currently being used to treat a number of ailments like arthritis and non-healing wounds. These tissues are normally discarded after birth but can now be stored for future lifestyle restoring treatments. However, most adult stem cells are derived from the patient’s own body. In fact, adipose-derived stem cells found in fat tissues contain an abundance of stem cells that can be easily harvested and used to help heal the patient.

  1. Stem Cells Can Cure Any Disease

On the opposite end of the spectrum are those who are OVER-confident in adult-derived stem cells. While new uses for stem cell therapy emerge frequently, every process requires years of clinical trials and research for the ultimate safety of the patient. Currently, stem cells are considered especially effective for a broad variety of musculoskeletal and inflammatory conditions, including major and minor joints, soft tissue, degenerative disc disease, tendonitis and tears (shoulder, rotator cuff, hip, elbow, Achilles), fractures, sprains, cartilage defects, spine and back, and osteoarthritis. In addition, stem cell therapy is also proving effective for treating bursitis, headaches, and is used in many numerous cosmetic procedures.


  1. Many of the World’s Religions Are Against Stem Cell Therapy

It is actually the destruction of embryos that the major conservative religions find problematic. As mentioned above, more stem cells come from gestational tissues and adult donors than embryos. The church as a whole has no problem with stem cells derived from ones-self or gestational tissues. In fact, former Pope Benedict XVI publicly stated his support of stem cell therapy.


  1. Stem Cell Research is Unregulated

Stem cell research is a legal practice regulated by the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Most states have additional legislation surrounding the research and use of adult-derived stem cells. In fact, the FDA has been very involved in developing guidelines around the safety and processes associated with HCT/P’s (Human Cellular Tissue Products) which autologous and allograft based stem cell therapies fall under.


  1. Stem Cell Research Will Lead to Human Cloning

This just isn’t possible. Every major advisory and regulatory body restricts reproductive human cloning. Both the International Society for Stem Cell Research and the National Academy of Sciences have issued guideline specifically banning this technique.


Contact Us for Further Clarification

Because adult-derived stem cells are a newer discovery, misconceptions about them tend to be intertwined with those about embryonic stem cells. However, the two types of stem cells originate from different sources, in addition to treating different types of diseases.

If you have additional questions about adult-derived stem cells, or if you’d like to find a regenerative medicine physician in your area, contact Lake Nona Medical Arts by clicking here. 

Lake Nona Medical Arts is a comprehensive pain management and regenerative medicine provider for those who want to live life pain-free without the need for daily drugs or invasive surgery.

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