Stem cells are the next frontier of medicine, used to treat osteoarthritis, back pain, and all sorts of chronic diseases. Mesenchymal stem cells are found in the bone marrow cavity, the peripheral blood, and adipose tissue, Many studies have shown that stromal cells with stem cell potency can also be isolated from human umbilical cord mesenchymal tissue, namely Wharton’s jelly.  The collection of mesenchymal stem cell-like (MSC-like) cells from tissues that are discarded at birth is easier and less expensive than collecting mesenchymal stem cells from a bone marrow aspirate (ouch!).  In theory, these cells can be stored frozen and then thawed to provide stem cells or therapeutic use decades after cryogenic storage. While it is true that mesenchymal stem cell-like (MSC-like) cells can be isolated from umbilical cord blood, placenta, perivascular areas, amniotic fluid and from the tissue surrounding umbilical cord vessels, i.e., Wharton’s jelly, in the United States it is ILLEGAL to inject viable cells from these sources into patients.  These products are sold as “stem cells” but they are no more than growth factors, proteins present in the whole blood secreted from platelets to coagulate blood and help form new vessels. Platelet rich plasma is generated from spinning whole blood, so if growth factors are what you’re looking for, then look upon yourself and save your hard-earned money!
Dr. Katherine Rodriguez

Author Dr. Katherine Rodriguez

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