Embryonic versus adult stem cells: What’s the difference?
Medical facilities are offering many kinds of stem cells to patients today. Unfortunately, sales
of these innovative medical products can hardly be called transparent. That means people who
need stem cell treatments can often be confused, and fail to understand exactly what’s being
used in their therapy.
So let’s figure it out cells types.
One of the principles by which cell products can be identified is the source of the cells. There
are two kinds: developed or undeveloped tissue.
Developed tissue means cells from an adult human body. Adult stem cells can be found in
adipose tissue, hair follicle, bone marrow and blood; all of these can be sources of stem cells.
“Undeveloped tissue” means tissue from embryos, most often from foetal tissue derived from
abortions, or embryos created for IVF programs and not used. However, it’s important to note
that there are other sources of such stem cells, including umbilical cord blood, umbilical cord
tissue and placenta. These sources of undeveloped tissue are legal, and recognized around the
world. Still, patients need to understand that these sources of stem cells cannot provide full bio-
insurance (which ideally uses cells from the patient’s own body), and also that they don’t offer
every type of stem cell.
The main difference between embryonic and adult stem cells is that embryonic cells are
completely indeterminate on what type of tissue they will turn into. This means that they can turn
into fat, bone, skin, blood or any other type of tissue. According to researchers, this is the main
risk factor: The ability of these cells to transform into any type of tissue does not limit their ability
to transform, for example, into cancer cells. It is important to emphasize that these assumptions
Unlike embryonic stem cells, however, adult stem cells are stable in their development. These
cells are isolated and cultured purposefully. This means that the doctor or bio-technologist
knows exactly what type of cells they are growing for a therapeutic dose, and how these stem
cells will behave in the human body after they are introduced.
Thus, using adult stem cells we can predict the outcome of treatment. This is a deliberate
approach, whose associated risks are incomparably lower than those of products based on
embryonic stem cells.
When deciding on a treatment using stem cells, the patient should be aware of how it works