Pros and Cons of Adult Stem Cells

Adult organism stem cells are a “repair kit” that the body uses to heal organs and tissues. As a person ages, however, this depletes their store of stem cells, which in turn decreases their ability to heal an affected organ. The reduction of stem cells and slower production of these cells is part of the natural aging process. 

The stem cells of the adult organism exist and are produced in small amounts in most tissue and organ systems, such as bone marrow, skin, and intestines. It is estimated that there are about twenty species of stem cells in the adult body, which rejuvenate and restore specific body cells. In particular, bone marrow stem cells are involved in the formation of all hematopoietic cells.

Cons:

  • Stem cells are not found in all types of adult tissues. Consequently, they can offer lower healing potential. 
  • The number of adult stem cells declines with age. They also become difficult to differentiate and prepare for usage.
  • To use adult stem cells for treatment, a doctor must first obtain them from the patient, then cultivate a sufficient density. It is a long process, and in many cases, patients cannot afford the wait.
  • A single line of adult stem cells produces no more than 3-4 tissue types, while embryonic stem cells are universal.

Pros:

  • Adult stem cells retain some properties of early embryonic cells. Their multipotency allows for transformation into certain types of cells for therapy and healing purposes.
  • Adult stem cells taken from the treatment recipient are less prone to be rejected by the body after transplantation since it is their biological material.
  • They are more available compared to embryonic stem cells. The latter are forbidden for use in therapy or research in the majority of countries. 
  • Using adult stem cells doesn’t raise many ethical issues since patients use their own cells or those provided by an adult donor. 
  • In most cases, it is still a better solution than surgery.