Stem cells are cells found in all multicellular organisms, that can divide and differentiate into diverse specialized...
Stem cells are cells found in all multicellular organisms, that can divide and differentiate into diverse specialized cell types and can self-renew to produce more stem cells.
In mammals, there are two broad types of stem cells:
- embryonic stem cells - isolated from the inner cell mass of blastocysts
- adult stem cells - found in various tissues.
In adult organisms, stem cells and progenitor cells act as a repair system for the body, replenishing adult tissues.
In a developing embryo, stem cells can differentiate into all the specialized cells (these are called pluripotent cells), but also maintain the normal turnover of regenerative organs, such as blood, skin, or intestinal tissues.
There are three accessible sources of autologous adult stem cells in humans:
- Bone marrow, which requires extraction by harvesting, that is, drilling into bone (typically the femur or iliac crest)
- Adipose tissue (lipid cells), which requires extraction by liposuction
- Blood, which requires extraction through pheresis, wherein blood is drawn from the donor (similar to a blood donation), passed through a machine that extracts the stem cells and returns other portions of the blood to the donor.
Stem cells can also be taken from umbilical cord blood just after birth.
Of all stem cell types, autologous harvesting involves the least risk.
By definition, autologous cells are obtained from one's own body, just as one may bank his or her own blood for elective surgical procedures.
Highly plastic adult stem cells are routinely used in medical therapies, for example in bone marrow transplantation.
Stem cells can now be artificially grown and transformed (differentiated) into specialized cell types with characteristics consistent with cells of various tissues such as muscles or nerves through cell culture.
Embryonic cell lines and autologous embryonic stem cells generated through therapeutic cloning have also been proposed as promising candidates for future therapies.
Stem cell deal making
Stem cells is seeing more interest in terms of deal making, with an increase in the number of partnering opportunities, deals and dealmaker amongst the top pharma, top biotech, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.
Licensing agreement for stem cell tendon repair technology
4 February 2013
Orthocell, Grandhope Biotech
Grandhope Biotech has in-licensed China rights to an autologous stem cell tendon-repair technology from Orthocell.
The technology harvests healthy tendon cells from the patient, cultures them, and then percutaneously implants a mixture of the cells and a scaffolding matrix to the damaged tendon.
Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
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