Types of Stem Cells: 101

Stem cells aren’t all the same as different types come from different places in the human body and are formed during different stages in our lives. Those include embryonic stem cells which only exist at the early stages of development and other types that are tissue-specific among others. While stem cells do share some characteristics such as being able to self-renew and differentiate, each type varies dramatically in what it can or can’t do. Read to learn more about some different types of stem cells.

Embryonic Stem Cells

These stem cells come from the inner cell mass of a blastocyst which is a ball of cells about the size of the dot above the letter “i” that forms three to five days after egg cells are fertilized. These stem cells are very valuable as they are a renewable resource that can be used to study normal development and disease as well as test drugs and therapies.

Tissue-Specific Stem Cells

These stem cells are more specialized than embryonic stem cells and can generate different types of cells for the specific organ or tissue they live in. An example of that is blood-forming stem cells located in bone marrow that can give rise to red or white blood cells as well as platelets but not to liver, lung, or brain cells. These cells can be a bit more difficult to locate in the human body, and studying them has helped us learn more about normal development, aging, injury, and disease.

Mesenchymal Stem Cells

You may hear these stem cells referred to as MSC and were found in bone marrow and are capable of producing bone, fat, and cartilage cells. They can also be grown from other tissues including fat and cord blood. MSCs are being tested as treatments for several disorders and scientists are still working to discover their exact uses. MSCs differ depending on what part of the body they come from and how they are grown.

Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

This type of stem cell is engineered in a lab by converting tissue-specific cells into cells that behave closer to embryonic stem cells. IPS cells are very important for scientists to learn about the onset and progression of various diseases and help to develop and test new therapies and drugs.

For more information on how stem cells can help you, contact Regenerative Medicine at 248-509-8630.

Categories: Regenerative Medicine