Stem Cell Research
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Stem Cell Basics
UCLA Research Facility
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The primary role of adult stem cells in humans is to maintain and repair the tissue in which they are found. While we call them adult stem cells, they are more accurately called somatic (from the Greek word soma = body) because they come virtually any body tissue, not only in adults but children and babies as well.
Adult type stem cells come from:
- Umbilical Cords, Placentas and Amniotic Fluid—Adult type stem cells can be derived from various pregnancy-related tissues.
- Body Tissues—In adults and children, from the moment we're born, stem cells are present within virtually all tissues and organ systems.
- Cadavers—Neural stem cells have been removed from specific areas in post-mortem human brains as late as 20 hours following death.
Adult stem cells are a “natural” solution. They naturally exist in our bodies, and they provide a natural repair mechanism for many tissues of our bodies. They belong in the microenvironment of an adult body, while embryonic stem cells belong in the microenvironment of the early embryo, not in an adult body, where they tend to cause tumors and immune system reactions.
Most importantly, adult stem cells have already been successfully used in human therapies for many years. New therapies using adult type stem cells are being developed all the time.