While there are several sources of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), two of the most common sources include adipose tissue and bone marrow. At Personalized Stem Cells, we process adipose (fat) tissue to extract and concentrate MSCs for use in FDA-approved clinical trials. 

Why Adipose Tissue?

Our founders developed PSC after 15 years of experience with adipose-derived stem cell therapy in animals. Over 14,000 veterinary patients have received their own fat-derived stem cells to treat conditions such as osteoarthritis, injured tendons, and ligaments, as well as internal medicine conditions such as chronic kidney disease. Many animal patients have experienced a better quality of life as a result of treatment with stem cell therapy.

Adipose tissue has been shown to contain as much as 500 times the amount of stem cells as bone marrow. Thus, stem cells can be collected in far greater numbers from fat than they can from a sample of bone marrow aspirate. In addition, adipose tissue can be easily collected and is generally a readily available source. Let’s be honest, most of us can spare a little extra fat!

What is Bone Marrow Aspirate Concentrate?

While we solely process adipose-derived stem cells (ADSCs), some doctors use Bone Marrow Aspirate Concentrate (BMAC). BMAC is a sample of bone marrow that is aspirated from a patient’s bone and then concentrated for injection. Like adipose, bone marrow contains therapeutic cells including MSCs, growth factors, and proteins that contribute to healing. Typical BMAC procedures are performed in a doctor’s office and can be completed in a few hours.

Like ADSCs, BMAC is used to treat orthopedic conditions such as osteoarthritis and soft tissue injuries. As we mentioned above, however, bone marrow contains far fewer stem cells than adipose. On top of that, many providers who use BMAC in a clinical setting do not have the ability to perform essential testing on the sample such as cell counts, viability, and sterility.

Testing to Ensure Viability and Sterility

Testing of stem cell samples is an important part of the process. Knowing exactly how many cells are in each dose as well as the viability of those stem cells is essential to providing a therapeutic amount of healthy, living stem cells. Sterility testing is also crucial to a successful stem cell treatment. By performing sterility tests and endotoxin testing, we assure that stem cell doses are free of potentially harmful contaminants. 

With in-clinic BMAC procedures, there is no way to count cells or to determine cell viability (health of the cells). In addition, without the ability to perform sterility testing, there can be no guarantee that the sample is not contaminated, which may lead to a higher rate of adverse reactions, such as an infection at the treatment site.

Do Research to Determine the Best Option for You

As with any medical procedure, it is important to do your research before undergoing treatment. While both adipose and bone marrow contain therapeutic stem and regenerative cells that can be used for healing, we believe adipose to be a superior source of cells. In addition, having your cells processed at an outside laboratory, in an aseptic, FDA inspected facility, adds a level of safety that may not be possible in a clinical setting. Also, and perhaps most important, stem cells are considered a drug and therefore must be used only as part of an FDA-approved Investigational New Drug program.  The FDA warns against stem cell procedures that are not FDA approved or part of an FDA-approved clinical trial.