Collection and Processing of Stem Cells

Where are Stem Cells Found?

There are many kinds of stem cells – some of them are found in adults, while others are only found in developing embryos. Nonetheless, stem cells persist in a variety of bodily tissues, and differ in terms of their accessibility. Stem cells found in the brain are difficult to extract, while those located in the umbilical cord (after it has been severed during birth) are very easy to obtain. Stem cells are also present in different amounts in tissues; the concentration of stem cells in bone marrow is far higher than that found in adipose (fat) tissue. Different stem cells are found in different areas of the body, and finding the right ones requires precision in laboratory protocols.

In Altogen Labs autologous stem cell therapy, the stem cells come from the bone marrow, where they are present in relatively high concentrations. The extracted material from the bone marrow, called bone marrow aspirate, also contains a variety of other cell types and materials, requiring filtration to isolate the end injection volume.

Why does it Matter Where Stem Cells Come From?

Stem cells from different parts of the body are suited for different tissue types; stem cells found in the liver will be apt at turning into liver cells, but will be unable to turn into neurons and skin cells. As such, having stem cells from the right part of the body to treat a given condition is crucial for overall effectiveness. Because Altogen Labs stem cell therapy extracts stem cells from the bone marrow, they are more suited for growth into fibrous, connective, and bone tissues. This means, for example, that they will be better for treating arthritic symptoms than for resolving gastric damage.

However, embryonic stem cells and those from early-stage development (such as cord blood stem cells) are able to turn into many types of cells, and can thus lead to the repair of many tissue types. There is a lot of current research investigating how stem cells can be made to replace any given tissue type, but there is no guaranteed way so far to do so. For current stem cell therapies undergoing clinical trials, the stem cells are usually obtained from the same tissue as is the target tissue to be repaired. Some stem cells, like mesenchymal stem cells, can turn into several tissue types, and can likewise be injected into a joint or the bloodstream in order to elicit benefits.

Where Do Stem Cells for Homologous Injections Come From?

The stem cells used in our developing homologous therapy are obtained during birth from the umbilical cord after it has been severed, meaning that the blood in the umbilical cord no longer flows to the child, and is no longer returned to the mother. Hence, there are no ethical dilemmas with obtaining the cord blood, as the process does not affect the mother or the child.

The mother gives permission to obtain the cord blood, after which it is frozen or directly delivered to Altogen Labs GLP-compliant laboratory in Austin, Texas. The cord blood itself contains a variety of cell types, ranging from simple red blood cells to leukocyte progenitors. The cord blood, when frozen, is done so with several preservative compounds that prevent ice crystals (made out of water) from puncturing the cells, which would kill them. Usually, a single unit of cord blood will be around 100 milliliters in volume.

For double-dose stem cell therapies, two cord blood units are obtained for one injection. The units are not mixed together, and are processed separately, but are combined before injection into the patient. This process is known to boost the efficiency of stem cell therapy, and can substantially improve overall results.

How are Stem Cells Processed After Collection?

Because successful stem cell injections require both a high dosage of stem cells and compatibility between the donor and the patient, the raw cord blood samples are processed in a laboratory setting. There are hundreds of steps involved in the processing of cord blood after it has been obtained, but there are a few general procedures.

The cord blood is first genetically analyzed for several immune characteristics recommended by the National Marrow Donor Program, after which the compatibility with the patient is determined. This is necessary in order to ensure that the stem cell injection will not cause a negative immune response, which would kill off the injected stem cells.

Afterwards, non-stem cells are mainly filtered out by a chemical technique involving the clumping together of red blood cells, which then settle down, leaving stem cells in a plasma matrix. This concentrates the stem cells, which research has shown also improves the long-term outlook for patients.

The remaining solution of unaltered stem cells is then injected into the patient. Higher and more concentrated doses of stem cells (even from several donors) have been historically observed to result in better outcomes for patients, and depending on the patient’s wishes, multiple stem cell volumes may be combined before injection.