When and Why Screen Stem Cells?
There are a lot of complicated factors involved in a stem cell therapy – the immune system naturally fights foreign contamination, and a stem cell from another person isn’t always welcome in the body. However, sometimes people are similar enough that stem cells from one will help the other. Determining how similar two people are, and if they are similar enough for stem cell injection, requires quite a bit of laboratory testing and work.
Fortunately, for Altogen Labs autologous stem cell therapy, the donor and the patient are the same person, meaning that screening the stem cells for similarity is unnecessary; we already know they were able to survive in a person. This means that a blood test can be used to determine the presence of infectious diseases in advance of the injection, but it is not entirely necessary for the success of the procedure.
As for Altogen Labs developing homologous stem cell therapy, the benefits of screening stem cells for histocompatibility (the term used to describe if the immune systems of two people who are similar enough for transplants), established by years of research, show substantially lower mortality rates and far better results from stem cells that are matched to the immune system of the donor. Not many companies screen stem cells before injection – many simply inject cord blood samples directly – and such unsafe therapies should be avoided. Plus, injections of cord blood samples that are not compatible with a patient’s immune system won’t work to do any good; the stem cells will be identified as foreign contaminants by the patient’s immune system, and promptly destroyed as well.
Some companies may tout their low price of stem cell injections, but a safe and beneficial homologous stem cell implantation therapy requires several weeks of analytical work and high-quality materials; a one-time procedure for autologous injections is the standard, but homologous ones require precision and screening.
How are Stem Cells Screened?
Stem cells can be screened for several characteristics; their genetic components, proteins, and other distinguishing features that can help match the stem cells to a patient. At Altogen Labs, we are developing current, state-of-the-art genetic testing to identify the most minute characteristics of stem cells. The process is checked to ensure all precautions are in place, with quality control implemented to the fullest extent.
In brief, the screening process involves reading genetic codes found in DNA that correspond to immune characteristics. Selections from raw umbilical cord blood samples have DNA extracted from them, and this DNA is then analyzed with advanced technology to determine the presence of important characteristics. The characteristics, recommended by the National Marrow Donor Program, are then used to determine the compatibility of stem cells with the patient.
Additional tools for the screening of stem cells include the identification of distinguishing proteins, however this procedure is generally more applicable to adult stem cells, as they are more specific in terms of what proteins they make. Cord blood stem cells are so versatile that protein identification gives little useful information about how they will function in another patient.
How are Viable Stem Cells Isolated?
In our developing homologous injection therapy, after the compatibility of stem cells with the patient is determined, the stem cells need to be separated from other blood components to ensure a high-concentration dose. This is done by having red blood cells form clumps through chemical properties, and then these clumps collect at the bottom of vials containing the cord blood, leaving stem cells floating above. These stem cells also include other cell types, such as leukocytes, that can immediately help fight infections and damaging conditions.
There are several other techniques for the isolation of stem cells that are not included as part of the Altogen Labs stem cell therapy, as they have yet to receive FDA approval. Such techniques include the use of special enzymes that digest connective fibers around stem cells as they are found in fibrous tissues (such as adipose and skin tissues). This leaves the stem cells in a free-floating mixture that is then centrifuged (spun around very fast) causing heavier cells to settle down while the stem cells (which are lighter) remain in the upper fluid. Additional isolation methods include the filtration of blood, whereby stem cells are retrieved, and all other components flow back into the same person. Having a completely pure sample of stem cells is not necessary; as long as the stem cells are in a high enough concentration, they can lead to beneficial effects. Other compounds and cells present in the injection mixture are natural settings for the stem cells, and help ensure that proper functionality is restored to a damaged tissue or organ.