Adult Stem Cell Research

Adult stem cells can be found in many places within the human body. It can be found in bone marrow, umbilical cord blood, placenta, brain, skeletal muscle, hair follicales, fat, and many others.

These adult stem cells are isolated from the patient, multiplied in the lab, directed towards the cell needed, and inserted at the place where tissue needs to be repaired or replaced.

Adult Stem Cells Treating Diseases

Adult stem cells have been used for the past 30 years to treat many diseases. However, it has not been till recently when research has unlocked the great potentials of the use of adult stem cells.
To date, they have been used to treat 73 diseases, including:

Adult Stem Cells not just Multipotent, but Pluripotent?

Many people discount adult stem cells because, as multipotent stem cells, their potential is “limited” compared to the unlimited potential of pluripotent hESC. However, some research is beginning to show that adult stem cells may in fact be pluripotent.

View this factsheet that documents studies showing the pluripotency of adult stem cells.

From the National Institute of Health:
“Adult stem cells are generally limited to differentiating into different cell types of their tissue of origin. However, some evidence suggests that adult stem cell plasticity (pluripotency) may exist, increasing the number of cell types a given adult stem cell can become.”

Adult Stem Cells providing cures of diseases?

In just one example, Keone Penn, a young boy from Georgia, was cured of sickle cell anemia by a umbilical cord blood stem cell transplant.

60 Minutes II: Holy Grail
June 5, 2002

“Stem cells are thought of as the Holy Grail of medicine. One young boy agrees with that. He made medical history because he’s been cured of his life-threatening disease. The key to his cure did not come from a human embryo, where all the controversy is, but from something that is routinely tossed in the garbage – an umbilical cord. Umbilical cords were always considered medical waste. Not anymore.”

Read the entire 60 Minutes II report.

Adult (ethical) stem cells are treating and curing many diseases as we speak, and there are encouraging signs of their pluripotency, especially among umbilical cord blood stem cells.

Take a look at our next section about the cutting edge of ethical stem cell research.