Let’s talk Stem Cells
BY Loraine Ritchey firstname.lastname@example.org
As regular readers of this blog know I have been up to my eyes in the world of stem cells and transplants.
I was totally a confused about stem cells- were they not banned? The US had issues with embryonic stem cells – I knew that- did stem cells have anything to do with the brain stem- I felt like someone plonked down on a new planet where up was down and down was up and everyone talked backwards. I felt totally lost and confused.
In recent weeks I have learned more than I ever wanted to know about stem cells- I wonder how many readers will actually even read to the bottom of this Part One post? 🙂
Embryonic Stem Cells
Embryonic stem cells, as their name implies, are taken from embryos. These cells are “pluripotent,” or capable of differentiating into any cell type derived from the three embryonic germ layers (the three initial tissue layers arising in an embryo) — mesoderm, endoderm, and ectoderm. Under the right conditions, human embryonic stem cells will proliferate indefinitely without specializing or differentiating into specific cell types, to form an embryonic stem cell line
What Are Stem Cells?
Stem cells are a remarkable type of cell that can divide and develop into any one of the three main types of cells found in the blood:
Red blood cells, which carry energy-giving oxygen from the lungs to the entire body;
White blood cells, important immune cells that play an important role in fighting bacteria and viruses that cause infection; and
Platelets, which help blood to clot when bleeding occurs.http://www.multiplemyeloma.org/treatments/3.03.php
There are different types of stem cell transplants-
stem cell transplants are defined by by the source of the stem cells.
Bone marrow transplants are those that are obtained from the bone marrow. However, they are rarely performed today in myeloma because of the ability to collect stem cells from the peripheral blood (see below). Bone marrow transplants are sometimes used if insufficient numbers of stem cells can be obtained from the peripheral blood.
Peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) transplants are obtained from the peripheral blood. PBSC transplants are now performed much more often than bone marrow transplants because they are easier to collect, they provide a more reliable number of stem cells, the procedure puts less strain on the donor’s system, and the patient recovers more quickly
Cord blood transplants refer to transplants where the stem cells are obtained from umbilical cord blood. Historically they have not been used frequently due to limited numbers of stem cells that can be collected from each umbilical cord. Recently, however, exciting new data have been generated using multiple cord blood units from more than one donor.
Stem cell transplants are further categorized based on the donor who provides the stem cells.
Autologous stem cell transplants (autografts) refer to stem cells that are collected from an individual and given back to that same individual.
Allogeneic stem cell transplants (allografts) refer to stem cells that are taken from one person and given to another. Currently, these types of transplant are performed much less frequently in myeloma in the US and are usually performed in the context of clinical trials.
Syngeneic stem cell transplants refer to stem cells that are taken from an identical twin of the recipient. These types of transplants are quite rare
Lastly, there are also several types of transplants under investigation in clinical trials.
A tandem autologous transplant, also known as a double autologous transplant, requires the patient to undergo two autologous stem cell transplants within 6 months.
A mini (nonmyeloablative) allogeneic transplant involves the use of moderately high-dose chemotherapy in combination with an allogeneic stem cell transplant.
If you have made it through this part of the post – I congratulate you – only one more thing to view and then you can rest and digest.
You see I was very puzzled by the BBC’s video report of Stem Cell Tourism Germany http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8115881.stm
Ok you can take a break
TO BE CONTINUED….