How stem cells work?
There are many functions that these cells perform. Four of the most important are, they control inflammation, they modulate the immune system, stimulate regeneration, and reduce scarring.
When we are born, we have around 1 cell in every 10,000 cells (Dr. Caplan study of cells in bone marrow). As we age the percentage of MSC’s to other cells decrease. When we reach 50, we have 1 viable cell for every 400,000 other cells. If MSC’s are part of what helps our body heal itself and we have 40 time less cells when we are 50 compared when we were born then we basically have 40 times less potential to health, fix or repair ourselves. When we are 80, we have around 1 MSC to every 2,000,000 cells. THAT MEANS THE BODY HAS 200 TIMES LESS ABILITY TO REGENERATE, OR REPAIR ITSELF.
A good way to look at it is when we are born, we all get an inheritance or an account of some sort of these cells. So, the minute we are born we have highest concentration of these cells. This is when our account has the highest balance we will ever have. Right away we start to withdraw or use up our balance. We use these cells to grow our body, repair it, fix it, and to maintain it.
Is Stem Cell Therapy Regenerative Medicine?
By the time we reach our skeletal maturity (it takes a lot to grow a body) in our late teens or early twenty’s we have used up around 90 percent of our inheritance or our stem cells account balance. We live the rest of our lives living off of remaining 10 percent. We need those cells to heal, repair, and regenerate things when we get injured. We also need those cells to maintain our bodies. As we continue to age and use up these resources, it becomes harder and harder for our body to fix injuries, repair it selves, and even maintain itself.
This may very well be why the aging process accelerates as we get older. There is a lot less aging from a 30 years span between 20 years old to 50 years old compared to 50 years old to 80 years old. As we deplete our account our body cannot keep with the demands put on it. We simply do not have enough in our account and we lose the ability to heal, repair, and regenerate.
We use them, and we lose them
There is another way to deplete our account balance. Many MSC’s exist in tissues as a dormant cell form known as pericytes. There pericytes attach and live on our outer capillary’s. They can remain there for long periods of time. When we have an injury or need them, they detach and go to the area needed. As we age, we lose some of our vascularity. As we lose our vascularity, we lose the place for this pericytes to attach to.
Also, as we lose vascularity, we lose our blood supply to different parts of our body. It is the blood that brings nutrients and other healing and growth factors to the site of the injury. The less blood supply we have the harder it is to heal and repair. It’s like cutting down a forest and wondering where all of the animals are. MSC’s are also noted for promoting angiogenesis. Meaning they can help to enhance the blood supply or blood vessel formation which is vital in the healing process.
When we are born, we have the most regenerative properties
As we age, and our bodies slow down so do our stem cells. i.e., it takes longer for one cell to become two cells (or dived/multiply). As a fetus it takes around 20 - 24 hours for a cell to become another. Around the age of 60- 65 years old the doubling time (one cell to become two cells) is every 60 hours. Now that may not seem like that big of a deal. This is kind of like compounding interest. You may have heard of how a penny that doubles every day for a month become million of dollars. It starts out slow day one, 1 penny, day two, 2 pennies, day three, 4 pennies and so and so on. By the end of that month its going from $200,000.00 one day $400,000.00 the next day and $800,000.00 the next day to $1,600,000.00 and so on. These cells do the same thing. A cell that has a doubling time of 20 to 24 (young sources cells) hours becomes 1,000,000,000 (that is billion) cells in 30 days. A cell that has a doubling time of 60 hours (someone 65 years of age) becomes 200 cells in 30 days. To help the body grow, fix, replace, and regenerate we need to have young vibrant healthy cells or “Day 1” cells meaning the cells are only one day old (newborn). Day one cells are considered young healthy robust cells that have the power to really make a difference in helping a patient’s body to heal.
Equally important is regenerative medicine therapies are growth factors, cytokines structural proteins, chemokines and other components needed to regenerate the body and support this entire process.