Cellular therapies are based on the use of cells – the basic unit of life.
Regenerative Medicine is a form of cellular therapy that focuses on the regeneration of cunctional tissues. Some forms of cellular therapies have been around for a very long time. Blood transfusion is a form of cell therapy based on cell replacement. Bone marrow transplant is another form of cell therapy utilizing stem cells from the bone marrow.
Advances in our understanding of cells and their function have shown that the inherent properties of cells to heal can be harnessed. In addition to replacing damaged or lost cells, cells can promote healing by:
- Releasing growth factors that promote healing (paracrine effect)
- Modulating the immune system (immune-modulation)
- Reducing inflammation (anti-inflammatory)
- Producing different types of cells with specific function (regeneration)
Stem cells are a special kind of cell that have unique self-renewal properties. Adult stem cells, those obtained from post-natal (after birth) tissues such as blood, bone marrow, fat, umbilical cord and dental pulp, are the main cells used.
Proper understanding and correct implementation is crucial in effectively harnessing the potential of cellular therapies.