The diagram above shows the types of tissues derived from stem cells by differentiation of stem cells. In addition to differentiation, stem cells also secrete various factors that regenerate tissues including growth factors, trophic and neuroprotective factors.
Vitro Biopharma is presently focused on adult stem cells known as mesenchymal stem cells or MSCs. The discovery of embryonic stem cells capable of differentiation into any cell type of the body was largely responsible for the development of modern stem cell technology. Embryonic stem cells are also ethically contentious since, in certain cases, embryo destruction results from the use of embryonic stem cells. However, adult stem cells are derived through non-destructive procedures from a variety of tissue sources. Adult stem cells have been approved for clinical use for over 50 years and have a strong record of safety and efficacy for use in the treatment of numerous blood disorders and immunological conditions. Presently, the MSC sector of stem cell research is one of the most rapidly growing and expanding fields within the entire stem cell industry.
The rapid emergence of stem cell products & technology based on MSCs is related to several factors including the widespread availability of these cells from numerous tissue sources and the strong clinical results showing preliminary efficacy and safety in a broad range of indications within disease treatment, recovery from injury and accelerated healing as well as numerous applications in regenerative medicine.
Our stem cell products and technology are based upon MSCs. We offer basic tools to support stem cell research and clinical studies of MSCs. Our products include both native MSCs and various derivatives, our MSC-Gro™ specialty cell culture media for support of growth and differentiation of MSCs and measurement tools for several aspects of stem cell quality and ability to treat certain conditions. Our MSC cell lines include native cells, fluorescent-labeled MSCs for use in tracking studies and in-vivo imaging experiments together with terminally differentiated cells derived from MSCs including osteoblasts, chondrocytes, neural stem cells, nephron progenitor cells and cardiomyocytes. We also provide various Cancer-Associated Fibroblasts (CAFs) & native fibroblasts for advanced cancer research. Numerous studies have shown that skin cells known as fibroblasts, can be reprogrammed to exhibit properties of embryonic stem cells, including the ability to differentiate into any type of cell by the over-expression of 4 genes. The pioneering research underlying the reprogramming of differentiated cells into pluripotent cells conducted by Drs. JB Gurdon and S Yamanaka led to the award of the 2012 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, for the paradigm-shifting discovery of the reprogramming of differentiated cells, which was not previously thought possible.
It is now apparent that there is considerable variation in cellular properties and differentiation capacity between MSCs derived from different tissues. We have conducted research comparing the MSCs from stromal vascular fraction (SVF), adipose, placental or umbilical cord cells. We first determined the presence or absence of various biomarkers that together comprise a phenotype that is characteristic of MSCs as defined by the International Society for Cellular Therapy. We found that while the MSCs derived from adipose, placental, umbilical cord tissues met the phenotype designation (CD11b-; CD14-; CD19-; CD34-; CD45-; CD73+; CD79A–; CD90+; CD105+; HLR-DR-), the SVF cells did not meet the definition of stem cells. There were also significant differences in potency between stem cell types. This study is now being further extended to show additional differences between MSCs derived from bone marrow, placenta, adipose-tissue and umbilical cord including differentiation and cell migration capacity. Our results add to other studies supporting variation in adult MSCs derived from different tissues. Also, epigenetic agents are known to effect gene expression including those controlling differentiation capacity. Hence, drugs and nutraceutical agents with epigenetic effects can also control differentiation capacity of stem cells and therefore impact clinical outcomes.
Our comparative studies of adult stem cells support the working hypothesis that optimal stem cell therapy will require the appropriate adult stem cells in sufficient quantities. It is also likely that combinations of stem and progenitor cells, e.g., MSCs and nephron progenitor cells will enhance therapeutic outcomes for specific indications such acute and chronic kidney failure. Impure preparations of stem cells such as SVF do not meet ISCT criteria of stem cells and are thus likely to yield only minimal clinical benefits such as pain reduction, due to the effects of paracrine factors secreted by stem cells, without significant regenerative clinical outcomes because these products lack sufficient numbers of stem cells to regenerate tissues.