Most people have heard of the possibilities that embryonic stem cell therapies have been promoting.
Up to the last decade or so, people considered embryonic stem cells the only source of cells that can turn into any tissue in the body.
Mesenchymal cells that are found in the blood marrow of adults show similar capabilities as embryonic stem cells in their ability to turn into any type of tissue in the body, where and as needed.
Mark F. Pittenger, et al, from Osiris Therapeutics devoted a report to the, “Multilineage Potential of Adult Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells”.
In an abstract from the report, Mark F. Pittenger, et all, describe the abilities of mesenchymal stem cells. The abstract is quoted here for reference: “Human mesenchymal stem cells are thought to be multipotent cells, which are present in adult marrow, that can replicate as undifferentiated cells and that have the potential to differentiate to lineages of mesenchymal tissues, including bone, cartilage, fat, tendon, muscle, and marrow stroma.” In short, these cells can turn into just about any type of tissue that might be needed in order to recover from an injury or disease (NOTE:Not only are mesenchymal stem cells found in bone marrow, but also they are plentiful in fat, or “adipose” tissue).
Continuing on, with more about the procedure used and results: “Cells that have the characteristics of human mesenchymal stem cells were isolated from marrow aspirates of volunteer donors. These cells displayed a stable phenotype and remained as a monolayer in vitro. These adult stem cells could be induced to differentiate exclusively into the adipocytic, chondrocytic, or osteocytic lineages. Individual stem cells were identified that, when expanded to colonies, retained their multilineage potential.”
So, not only were the cells able to differentiate into many different types of body tissue, but some of these individual cells still maintained the ability to transform into other types of tissue!
The importance of this report is clearly in the ability of adult stem cells to produce whatever type of healing the body is in need of.