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Bone Marrow-Derived Stem Cell Therapy: A Powerful Treatment for Various Conditions

Author: Sanjoy Debnath
by Sanjoy Debnath
Posted: Feb 12, 2024

Bone marrow contains two types of stem cells that have shown promise in regenerative medicine: hematopoietic stem cells and mesenchymal stem cells. Both types can be harvested from bone marrow via an aspiration procedure and injected back into the patient or donor for treating various diseases and medical conditions.

This article provides an overview of bone marrow-derived stem cell therapy, including a discussion of the stem cell types involved, current and potential applications, the procedure, benefits, risks, and more. By the end, you'll have a solid understanding of how this type of stem cell treatment works and its importance in regenerative medicine.

What are Bone Marrow-Derived Stem Cells?

Bone marrow is the flexible tissue found inside bones. It contains two main types of stem cells:

Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) - These develop into various blood cell types like red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. They are commonly collected from bone marrow or peripheral blood for hematopoietic stem cell transplantation to treat blood cancers and immune disorders.

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) - While less numerous than HSCs in bone marrow, MSCs are multi-potent stem cells that can differentiate into a variety of cell types, including bone cells, cartilage cells, fat cells, and others. They show promise for tissue regeneration applications beyond blood and immune system treatments.

Both HSCs and MSCs are mobilized from the bone marrow into surrounding blood vessels by biological agents like granulocyte colony-stimulating factors (G-CSF) before collection via aspiration. Once isolated from other bone marrow components, these stem cells can then undergo stem cell therapy via transplantation back into the patient or donor.

Uses and Applications of Bone Marrow Stem Cell Therapy

Bone marrow-derived stem cells show potential across a wide range of applications:

Blood disorders: HSCs are commonly used to treat blood cancers like leukemias and life-threatening blood cell deficiencies through hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT).

Immune diseases: HSCT is also utilized for autoimmune diseases resistant to drug therapies, like multiple sclerosis, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis. It aims to "reset" the immune system.

Cartilage damage: There is some evidence that MSCs may promote cartilage healing when injected into damaged knee joints affected by conditions like osteoarthritis. Further research is being conducted.

Neurological disorders: Some early research suggests MSCs may help repair brain or spinal cord injury sites and treat neurodegenerative diseases like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) due to their capacity to potentially differentiate into neural cells. Clinical trials are ongoing.

Heart disease: Preclinical studies show promising results for using MSCs to treat acute myocardial infarction (heart attack) and chronic ischemic cardiomyopathy by reducing infarct size and improving cardiac function. Larger late-stage trials are still needed.

Diabetes: Transplanting MSCs or HSCs may preserve insulin production in type 1 diabetes by protecting insulin-generating islet beta cells in the pancreas from immune attack. It represents a potential alternative to whole pancreas transplantation.

While stem cell therapy shows promise, most applications remain in the early research phases. It represents a potentially game-changing field of "regenerative medicine" that could revolutionize treatment if larger definitive human trials continue validating initial positive results on a wider scale.

Bone Marrow Aspiration Procedure

Bone marrow aspiration is an outpatient medical procedure used to extract or "harvest" stem cells from the bone marrow before stem cell therapy administration:

    • After numbing the area with anesthesia, a special hollow needle is inserted into the back of the hip bone or breastbone and rotated to collect the fluid marrow.
    • Stem cells are separated from other bone marrow components in the laboratory through centrifugation.
    • The final stem cell product can undergo further processing like "washing" to remove remaining red blood cells and platelets before transplantation.
    • The entire procedure takes 1-2 hours with several days needed for isolation and processing of stem cells. Full recovery takes 1-2 days with minimal discomfort at the bone puncture site.
  1. Advanced technologies now allow hematopoietic or mesenchymal stem cells to be separated in a closed system to reduce contamination risk. Antibiotics may also be given before to help prevent infection. Overall, bone marrow aspiration is a generally low-risk procedure when performed by experienced clinicians at certified centers.

Benefits and Risks of Bone Marrow-Derived Stem Cell TherapyBenefits
    • Stem cells are multipotent, meaning they differentiate into multiple cell types. This regenerative property holds promise across a wide range of applications.
    • They may treat conditions otherwise untreatable or improve survival rates over traditional therapies alone for diseases like cancer.
    • Autologous transplantation using a patient's stem cells eliminates issues with donor matching and reduces GVHD risk compared to allogeneic donations.
    • They represent a powerful tool for disease modeling, drug discovery, and toxicology studies since they can take on cell identities.
    • Some procedures like bone marrow aspiration carry pain and recovery risks, though modern techniques minimize discomfort. Infection risk also exists but is low.
    • Benefits are often disease-specific and may not emerge for years. Not all patients respond favorably in early-phase studies.
    • Effects versus traditional or newer targeted therapies are still being defined. Combination treatments may work best.
    • Manipulating stem cells invites potential tumor formation risks from genomic mutations during cell culture expansion required for some therapies. Careful screening aims to address this.
    • Regulatory concerns exist with unproven for-profit clinics marketing unapproved stem cell therapies directly to patients that may not meet clinical standards and safety. Reputable centers certified by organizations like FACT or JACIE help ensure proper handling.

Overall stem cell therapy shows enormous potential if developed responsibly according to stringent clinical testing guidelines. Its impacts will likely transform modern medicine once proven safe and effective at scale for major diseases.

Example Application: R3 Stem Cell's Bone Marrow Stem Cell Injections

R3 Stem Cell, a leader in regenerative stem cell medicine, offers bone marrow-derived stem cell injections for various joint and spinal conditions at its FDA-registered facilities, including for:

  • Osteoarthritis of the knee, hip, ankle, shoulder, or other joints
  • Arthritis and joint pain
  • Back or neck pain due to herniated or degenerated discs, spinal stenosis, or other spinal issues
  • Tendon or ligament injuries

During treatment, patients undergo bone marrow aspiration followed by isolation and activation of proprietary mesenchymal and hematopoietic stem cell populations. These are then directly injected into damaged areas under imaging guidance for targeted delivery.

An average of 200 million stem cells are transplanted with a reported success rate of 80% or more. Many patients notice significant symptom relief and functional improvement within 4 weeks with no major side effects reported.

For conditions where drug or surgical options remain inadequate or carry risks, stem cell therapy offers a promising noninvasive alternative or adjuvant approach alongside physical therapy and lifestyle modifications. It also provides clinicians valuable insights into mechanisms of disease and regeneration through trials.

In summary, bone marrow-derived stem cells show value across regenerative medicine due to their multipotency and regenerative properties. With proper clinical administration according to rigorous testing standards, stem cell therapy holds enormous potential as a frontier therapy able to transform how incurable or treatment-resistant conditions are managed going forward.

About the Author

Name: R3 Stem Cell, Llc Address: 10045 East Dynamite Blvd Scottsdale AZ 85266 Phone: +1 (480) 808-7057 Website:

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Author: Sanjoy Debnath

Sanjoy Debnath

Member since: Aug 31, 2023
Published articles: 10

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