What is a stem cell?
The term “stem cell” has received a bad reputation over the years, largely due to research involving human embryos and the misperception that all stem cells come from embryos or amniotic tissues.
But, a stem cell is simply a type of cell that already exists in your body that has the unique ability to produce other cells, become a different kind of cell, or instruct other cells how to behave based on the task the body requires.
All other cells in the body are created for a specific purpose. For example, a red blood cell has the job of transporting oxygen throughout the body. But, that red blood cell is not able to divide and reproduce. Instead, when the body requires new red blood cells, it is the job of the stem cells located in your bone marrow to produce the new red blood cells. Those same stem cells can also produce white blood cells and platelets.
Stem cell therapy is the process of delivering these unspecialized stem cells to a targeted location in your body to stimulate new cell growth and tissue healing.
How stem cells are used in orthopedic medicine?
In the field of regenerative medicine for orthopedics, certain types of stem cells called Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs) are utilized for their ability to mature and differentiate into multiple types of tissue including bone, tendon, ligament, cartilage, muscle and meniscus. In addition, these stem cells can self-renew, producing more stem cells. They can even prevent other cells from dying due to lack of oxygen and they can produce anti-inflammatory proteins.
At our orthopedic stem cell clinic in Fort Worth, we use Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs) that are harvested from the patient’s own fat tissue— never from amniotic, placental or umbilical tissues.
When stem cells are injected into an arthritic joint or injured tendon, they attach to the areas of damaged tissue. The stem cells are able to sense the microenvironment of the injury and determine what kind of cells to grow and what molecules are needed to enhance tissue healing. The stimulated stem cells begin to grow new cells and also act as your body’s own natural drug store producing and releasing the right combination of growth factors and proteins to stimulate healing and new growth of cartilage, tendon and other injured tissues.