Sources of Stem Cells are Important
Knowing the sources of stem cells used for stem cell therapy is crucial and instrumental to the effect of the therapy. The sources of stem cells directly determine their quality. Other than the sources, there are other factors, such as extraction and handling of the stem cells, which will also affect the quality. However, we will address the sources of stem cells in this article.
When we talk about the sources of stem cells, we are referring to two important area, namely the organism and the locality of the organism. By organism, we mean ‘are the sources of stem cells from sheep, deer or human?’ By locality of the sources of stem cells, we mean ‘where does the sheep, deer or human come from?’ These questions are important because if the organism is mot healthy, so also the stem cells. If the organism comes from a location where the same species is exposed to a lot of diseases or inflicted with diseases, then there is a high probability that the stem cells may contain those diseases. The importance of the issues pertaining to the sources of stem cells can never be over-emphasized as the efficacy of stem cell therapy will be directly affected by the quality of the stem cells, which is directly affected by the sources.
There is another matter concerning the sources of stem cells is ‘which part of the body of organism is the stem cells harvested from?’ This matter is not as controversial as the two issues above because it is universally agreed that placenta is the part where stem cells are most suitable.
Sources of Stem cells – Sheep, Deer Or Human
Sheep and deer placenta are normally used due to their biocompatibility with human. In other words, placenta from these two animals, sheep and deer, is known to be most suitable for the human body and does not trigger allergic reaction. Human fetal stem cells are suitable because they have yet to develop antigenicity, meaning their immune system have not been developed and therefore will not result in the body having an immune response when introduced into the body. In other words, all three sources, sheep, deer and human placenta, are suitable for the human body. However, special considerations have to be taken when human fetal stem cells are chosen. This is addressed further down the article.
Sources of Stem cells – Location
Historically, sheep and deer placenta is produced in Europe, which has to do with the history of stem cell therapy using placenta stem cells. The problem with Europe is the outbreak of diseases, including Mad Cow Disease, Scrapie, and Foot and Mouth Disease. This is a very serious concern because these diseases can affect sheep and deer. If you take a look at the geography, you will find that countries such as China and Switzerland are probably not the places you want to source for your stem cells. The reason is these countries are connected to the European continent. As a result, infected birds, cattle, sheep and other animals can spread to these countries. Ideally, you would want the location of the sources of stem cells to be far away and isolated from the European continent. This would be continents like Australia and New Zealand. In fact, New Zealand will be the ideal location for the sources of stem cells because New Zealand is free from Mad Cow Disease, Scrapie, and Foot and Mouth Disease.
Human Sources of Stem Cells
When we talk about the human sources of stem cells, that is fetal placenta, there are various issues we need to address and deliberate. The most crucial question to ask is ‘is the fetal placenta certified and tested for HIV, Hepatitis, and other viruses?’ We also need to question the legality of the placenta. Are the fetal placenta obtained illegally from some third world countries? Answering these questions is vital to the quality of the stem cells because effective stem cell therapy hinges on good quality, disease free placenta. If the fetal placenta is not approved and comes with the proper certification and testing, you will be exposed to unknown risks should the stem cells be used for treatment. For the time being, it is probably a good idea to stay away from fetal placenta until such time the critical questions have been met with satisfactory answers.
Thank you for visiting Stem Cell Malaysia and reading this discussion on the sources of stem cells.