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Adipose-Derived Stem Cells

            Four years ago, my Uncle Creighton was diagnosed with a rare blood disease called multiple myeloma, which is a cancer affecting plasma cells. With no available treatment for his unfamiliar disease in Chicago, Creighton moved to Houston to undergo an experimental stem-cell procedure that saved his life. The cancerous Plasma cells, which are a kind of white blood cells that produce antibodies, accumulate in the bone marrow and disturb production of red blood cells, casing a number of problems.i Like most cancer treatments, his procedure was painfully slow. Since the cancerous plasma cells accumulate in the bone marrow, the doctor suctioned out as much infected bone marrow as he could and isolated the mesenchymal stem cells from Creighton's marrow to save for later implantation. The bone marrow that Creighton still had in his body was eventually killed by radiation and chemotherapy. Injecting the isolated mesenchymal stem cells back into Creighton's hollow bones was the quickest way to restore the tissue needed to produce healthy white blood cells. Creighton's own stem cells were able to restore the lost bone marrow and for that reason he is alive today. Post-natal (adult) stem cells posse a unique ability that makes them one of the most important healing factors in humans and animals. Three aspects contribute to stem cells' significance: the capacity to self-renew, long-term viability, and multilineage potential.ii,iii Multilineage potential is the ability of a cell to differentiate (change into) a range of cell types. The multilineage potential of mesenchymal stem cells from bone marrow has been studied abundantly, but the full understanding of adipose-derived stem cells is still unfolding. Adipose tissue (or fat) is among the most accessible tissues in the human body and is seeded with tiny stem cells. This discovery has opened the doors to a whole new realm of research involving the use of adipose-derived stem cells for treatment in animals.

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