The next wave of medicine: banking your stem cells for therapeutic use
(BPT) - The therapeutic use of adult stem cells has come a long way over the past decade and continues to remain at the frontier of the rapidly expanding field of regenerative medicine. For more than 50 years, adult stem cells have been extensively researched and used safely and successfully. Today, widespread therapeutic use of stem cells is beginning to emerge as part of "mainstream" medicine.
Now, Celltex Therapeutics Corporation, based in Houston, provides physicians with widespread access to this therapy, making it easy for individuals to bank their own adult stem cells for potential future use. Much like banking your money for use in the future, banking your own stem cells now provides peace of mind should you need them quickly when least expected.
An adult stem cell is a particular type of cell that naturally occurs in all of us at any age. A particular kind of adult stem cell, called a mesenchymal stem cell, is integral in your body's natural healing abilities, and they have several powerful healing properties. When the body suffers injury or illness, stem cells are dispatched to those areas to begin the regenerative process. They help reduce inflammation by releasing your body's own natural, anti-inflammatory agents. Once they get to a site of injury or disease, they direct other immune cell types for needed repairs or other actions.
Additionally, you can think of these stem cells as a sort of "immature" cell with the ability to mature, or transform, into many different specific types of cells depending on what your body needs, such as bone, cartilage, muscle, nerves or fat cells. They also have the ability to create new blood vessels to help your body maintain good blood flow.
In order to heal disease and injury, your body needs a lot of these cells. The number of adult stem cells in our bodies tends to diminish as we grow older. This is why, in part, injuries and diseases take longer to recover from when we are in our later years compared to when we were kids or young adults. Being able to give your body hundreds of millions of its own exact stem cells gives your body great potential to heal itself.
"We've just begun to uncover the possible therapeutic impact of adult stem cells," says Dr. Stanley Jones, orthopedic surgeon and vice chairman at Celltex. "Banking your stem cells gives patients and their doctors a major advantage in terms of having access to your own stem cells in case of disease or injury. Our stem cell banking technology allows us to preserve your cells so that you have hundreds of millions of cells available if you need them."
Celltex's platform technology makes use of a person's own adult stem cells derived from fat that are taken through a simple procedure performed by a physician under local anesthetic. Once the fat is extracted, it is sent to a lab where the stem cells are then separated, multiplied and stored without any genetic alteration or exposure to chemicals and drugs. The cells are tested before, during and upon completion of the cell banking process. Controls and safeguards are the most important steps in ensuring the safety and purity of the final product. These cells are then available to the patient for use by a physician when needed.
Celltex is currently researching new technology for banking and treatment therapies, working with research partners and sponsoring clinical trials to further the field of regenerative medicine and better document the therapeutic impact of adult stem cell therapy. While banking services are available to anyone, currently banked stem cells are only being released by Celltex to physicians who are IRB-approved investigators participating in its clinical trials in Texas. The company plans to offer access to its stem cell therapy to physicians outside of Texas in the near future.
To learn more about how to bank your adult stem cells and participate in an adult stem cell clinical trial, visit www.Celltexbank.com.