Wednesday, August 6, 2014


By: Andrew J. Rochman

Stem cells are considered to be a hot area of research because stem cells provide the prospect of developing cure for many diseases that are yet incurable, such as Alzheimer’s disease. Under the right conditions, stem cells have the ability or to develop or differentiate into different forms of cells.
There are many types of stems cells. They are classified into:
·        - Embryonic stem cells
·        - Tissue stem cells
·        - Induced pluripotent stem cells

Embryonic stem cells (ESCs)

Embryonic stem cells or ESCs are extracted from embryos at a very early stage (3 to 5 days old) and grown in the laboratory by taking consent of the donor providing them with the right conditions. The advantages of ESCs are that they can differentiate into any kind of cell and possess the ability to multiply without defects, so that large supplies can be made for research purposes (, 2014).
ESCs are being used in clinical trials to treat eye disorders. In more recent study, ESCs were used to treat heart failure in pregnant mothers. The study suggested that ailing heart of a pregnant mother sends out a distress signal that was received by ESCs of the unborn baby, which were able to reach the distress site and differentiate into heart cells (Zimmer, 2014).

Tissue Stems Cells (TSCs)

Tissue stem cells (TSCs) are stem cells from various tissues of the body that are involved in regeneration and repair of tissues. They can only differentiate into the type of tissue in which they are present.  These include:

Skin Stem Cells

Skin stem cells have been grown in the lab since the 1980s to develop skin grafts for severe burn patients. However, this type of skin is far from perfect as no hair, sebaceous glands or sweat glands are present. It is commonly used to treat patients with third degree burns on a large area of their body (EuroStemCell, 2014).

Blood Stem Cells

Blood stem cells are commonly used in bone marrow transplants to provide patients with a new supply of blood cells.  However, there is a risk of recipient’s body attacking cell from the donor’s body. This results in graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) (EuroStemCell, 2014).

Umbilical Cord Stem Cells

Umbilical cord stem cells are extracted from the umbilical cord and are used to make different types of blood cells. They are being used in research to understand the working of blood cells. They are also used for treating leukemia in young children (EuroStemCell, 2014).
Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs)
MSCs are found in the bone marrow and make cells of different types such as that of cartilage, bone and fat. MSCs also support blood cell formation in the body. MSCs are being studied to understand how these cells play a role in maintaining and repairing tissues.   Some clinical trials are underway that are investigating how MSCs help to repair bone or cartilage or even blood vessels. It appears that MSCs may have an indirect role in the repair mechanism of blood vessels (EuroStemCell, 2014).

Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSCs)

Induced pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSCs) are adult stem cells that have been reprogrammed to behave like embryonic stem cells. These stem cells can then be used instead of embryonic stem cells for treatment, thereby eliminating risk of immune rejection. They have been used in research to make new heart cell by reprogramming adult connective tissue cells (, 2014)..  


Stem cell research & therapy: types of stem cells and their current uses. [online] Available at:, (2014). Stem cells: What they are and what they do - Mayo Clinic. [online] Available at:
What are the major types of stem cells? (2007). Nature Reports Stem Cells. [online] Available at:
Zimmer, M. (2014). Mending Broken Hearts: Using Embryonic Stem Cells to Repair the Damage Caused by Heart Attacks. [online] The Huffington Post. Available at:


By: Dr. Andrew J. Rochman

In March 2009, Obama repealed a policy formulated by the Bush administration that prohibited the use of federal funds for research on stem cell therapy. The policy was meant to placate the anger of conservative supporters that were against the idea of destroying human embryos for deriving stem cells from them. However, President Bush ‘s policy did not restrict the use of private funds for conducting stem cell research and many private organizations such as the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, Michael J. Fox Foundation For Parkinson’s Research and The Leukemia And Lymphoma Society have funded stem cell research in the past.  Other organizations have funded research at many universities and research institutions (Fossett, 2014).
The effects of this repeal have been positive and welcomed by all. For many scientists, it means the end of tedious bookkeeping that required them to keep separate account of supplies purchased from federal funds allocated to a project and other funds allocated to projects on stem cell therapy. They hope this decision will allow them to work in an efficient manner and not get bogged down by the amount of paper trail and tedious processes (Nasaw, 2009).
Since the repeal, there has been considerable progress in stem cell research. In November 2009, more research lines were added to the NIH list, adding more materials for researchers to study and learn from. The NIH reviewed its guidelines regarding the use of human embryonic stem cell lines that are not being used in fertility treatments. The Obama administration also approved the use of embryonic stem cell lines strictly adhering to NIH guidelines. Many cell lines approved by President Bush’s administration were found to be unethical by Obama’s government (Progress, 2014).

Since the repeal, there has been considerable progress in stem cell therapy. The federal government’s initiative has sparked an interest in regenerative medicine, an area of medicine in which doctors seek to heal the patient’s damaged tissue by taking them from the patient’s body and growing them in a lab. These cells are then reprogrammed and injected into the patient’s body to heal injured tissues (, 2014). Recently, scientists have sought to develop personalized stem cells for diabetes patients by taking stem cells from the body and directing them to produce insulin (, 2014).
Recently, it has been found that stem cells taken from other sources can be just as beneficial for modern research as embryonic stem cells. These other sources include stem cells taken from the umbilical cord, and the stem cells taken from adult human tissues. Without more research on embryonic stem cells, it was not possible to gain more insight into how these cells work and can be used for therapy. In fact, many scientists believe that adult stem cells may provide a better source of treatment than embryonic stem cells (, 2014). 
The effect of Obama’s repeal has far-reaching consequences for the society, and it remains to be seen how stem cells impact the lives of the average Americans in terms of healthcare and medical treatment.

References, (2014). Eight Reasons to Applaud Action on Stem Cells. [online] Available at: [Accessed 21 May. 2014].
Fossett, J. (2014). Beyond the Low Hanging Fruit: Stem Cell Research Policy in an Obama Administration. [online] Available at:
Anon, (2014). Eight Reasons to Applaud Action on Stem Cells. [online] Available at: [Accessed 21 May. 2014].
Nasaw, D. (2009). Obama overturns Bush policy on stem cell research. [online] the Guardian. Available at: [Accessed 21 May. 2014].
Progress, S. (2014). Timeline: A Brief History of Stem Cell Research. [online] Available at: [Accessed 21 May. 2014]., (2014). Scientists Develop Personalized Stem Cells, Working Toward Cure for Diabetes | The Bottom Line (UCSB). [online] Available at: [Accessed 21 May. 2014].



Assembled by: Dr. Andrew J. Rochman

Stem cell therapy has been used by scientists to perform research to understand the workings of several diseases. In the course of this development there have been a number of treatments that have been developed possessing a great potential to cure these diseases. Although stem cells therapies are not yet approved by the FDA, many physicians and clinician are using this form of therapy to treat their patients and getting positive results.

One such organization offering stem cell-based therapies is Cell Surgical Network (CSN), which falls under the division of physician’s practice of medicine, by which the doctors and patients are free to choose their mode of treatment. The doctors initially screen the patient requesting a stem- cell therapy to make sure the procedure will be safe for them. They provide treatment for a number of degenerative diseases (Cell Surgical Network, 2014).

Dr. Mayo Friedlis, MD, is another doctor who endorses stem cell therapy. He has been working at national spine and pain centers since 1983, and is one of the first doctors in the washing DC area to use stem cell therapy for musculoskeletal injuries, especially knee and hip arthritis and has been getting positive results for more than 3 years. He is also accredited for introducing advanced regenerative techniques being applied at National spine and pain centers and stem cell ARTS. He says, “I decided to bring the Regenexx Protocols into the practice, as I believe that they currently represent the highest state of the art for Stem Cell use. The research is strong and ongoing, which is important for the ongoing development of this science.” (, 2014).

Dr. Friedlis is passionate about helping his patient, as he says, “we must always challenge ourselves to stay on the cutting edge of our field. We must evaluate each new treatment option that comes available and gauge if it can help our patients. If it can, then we have a responsibility to do what it takes to bring it into practice, so that our patients can benefit.” (, 2014).

Dr. Robert Wagner is another doctor who has been at the national spine and pain centers since 1999 after completing his medical training throughout Virginia. He is regarded as a top pain specialist and has expertise in treating pain and injuries of the joint, ligaments, tendons, nerves and spine. In addition, he has many years of experience in treating acute and chronic pain by stem cell therapy. He has advocated the use of stem cell therapy for treating back pain and neck pain, among other disorders in his lectures and seminars (, 2014).

At Florida Spine and Sports Medicine, Dr. Dennis Lox offers knee pain associated with osteoarthritis, meniscus tears, ACL tears, tendonitis, and other knee joint conditions. Dr. Lox uses adult stem cells which are extracted from the bone marrow or adipose tissue of the patient and prepared to be injected into the patient. These cells then become specialized and help in regeneration of knee cartilage.  The time required for results vary, with some patients reporting relief in a week or so. Others patients may take longer, while stem cells continue working in the next months to come (Dr Lox, 2013).


Cell Surgical Network, (2014). Faqs, What Are Stem Cells, What Is Stem Cell Research. [online] Available at: [Accessed 22 May. 2014].

 Dr Lox, (2013). Knee Arthritis can be painfull, Stem cell therapy can help. [online] Available at: [Accessed 22 May. 2014]., (2014). Mayo Friedlis, MD - StemCell ARTS. [online] Available at: [Accessed 22 May. 2014]., (2014). Robert H. Wagner, MD - StemCell ARTS. [online] Available at: [Accessed 22 May. 2014].