The 4 Basic Stem Cell Types: Knowing The Difference


Understanding Stem Cell Types And How Each Are Affected By Stem Cell Ethics

Stem cell ethics and medical ethics go hand-in-hand. Legitimate stem cell medical facilities have been in the U.S. for many years now. But there are still some in the general public that believe regenerative medicine remains in the shadows of moral code. This is largely because many people are unaware of the practices used today based on advancements that resolved the dilemma of stem cell ethics decades ago. These modern methods use stem cell types that eliminate ethical concerns.

Today the majority of stem cell therapies practiced in the United States use regenerative medical methods that not only don’t require ethically challenged procedures, the stem cell types used are wholly derived from the patient receiving therapy. These practices are preferred because they are superior in both quality and quantity to the early procedures of the mid 20th century.

But even with this understanding, it’s important to know that there are always “fly by nights” that still skirt the edges of stem cell ethics or commit out-and-out fraud. Just as with any medical issue, the National Stem Cell Institute -a leading regenerative medicine facility in the United States- urges people to take active roles in their health care when it come to regenerative medicine, stem cell ethics, and the knowing what stem cell types are most commonly used today.

stem cell therapyIt’s important to understand the difference between legitimate regenerative medicine facilities and those that aren’t

Understanding the difference between legitimate, licensed regenerative medicine facilities and those that are not isn’t just a matter of keeping your money out of the hands of criminals. It’s a matter of your most precious resource: your health. So let’s take a closer look at stem cell types, ethics, and how to ensure that you and your loved ones are in the hands of a trained, licensed regenerative medicine specialist.

The Basics Of Stem Cells

Stem cells are the wellspring from which all other cells of the body develop. Stores of stem cells remain in the body throughout life. Stem cells have a unique quality known as “differentiation.” This means that stem cells can become whatever type of cell the body needs. In their “stem” form, these cells have no specific function other to await their marching orders to become the cells of muscles, bones, cartilage, brain, nervous system, blood, and more. When a wound needs healing, when damage brought on by disease or injury needs repairing, when inflammation needs to be reduced, when new cell growth is essential, it is the stem cell that receives the call to action.

type of stem cells

The 4 Basic Stem Cell Types

Stem cell types are classified according to what part of the body they are derived from. Below are the most commonly used stem cell types.

Embryonic Stem Cells

Let’s first discuss the stem cell types that were at the heart of controversy during the early days of stem cell research. Embryonic stem cells are harvested from the blastocyst. The blastocyst is a mass of cells that forms a mostly empty ball. This cell mass is what forms three to five days after fertilization. To the naked eye, the blastocyst of a human being is about the size of the dot in the letter “i.”

While the blastocyst is mainly empty, there is an inner mass inside it that contains cells capable of differentiating into all the stem cell types that make up all tissues and organs of the body. When this inner cell mass is extracted, these cells retain their embryonic stem cell properties. Under laboratory conditions, the stem cell types within the inner mass can be engineered to become whatever type of cell is needed.

Stem cell types that have the ability to become any cell of the body are called pluripotent

This makes pluripotent stem cells highly valuable. Today, however, embryonic stem cells are not the only pluripotent stem cell types available. Modern medical science now has other pluripotent stem cell options. These options have given rise to a golden age of regenerative medicine therapies and treatments that don’t require the harvesting of blastocysts and, instead, use adult stem cells that are harvested from a donor or directly from the patient.

Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Also known by the acronym iPS, induced pluripotent stem cells are coaxed into tissue-specific cells under laboratory conditions. Pluripotent means the cells have the ability to form all adult cell types. While pluripotent stem cell types occur naturally in the body, induced pluripotent stem cells are engineered outside the body. Induced pluripotent stem cells are essential tools in the scientific understanding of disease onset and progression, as well as for expanding our knowledge of normal development. They are also valuable in the development of new therapies, medications and drug treatments.

Mesenchymal Stem Cells

Frequently referred to by the acronym MSC, mesenchymal stem cell types are derived from the connective tissue surrounding other tissues and organs. This connective tissue is called stroma, so MSCs are also known as stromal cell types. Like somatic stem cells, MSCs are adult stem cells.

Mesenchymal stem cells were first found in bone marrow. MSCs are more versatile than somatic stem cell types. Whether harvested from bone or fat, they have been used to grow a variety of different tissues. Even so, not all MSCs are the same. Those that are stored in the fatty layer that lies just below the skin have an added benefit in that harvesting them is a virtually painless procedure that is easier on the patient, compared to harvesting the MSCs stored in the bone marrow.

Somatic Stem Cells

Somatic stem cells, also called tissue-specific cells, are among the stem cell types known as “adult” stem cells. Somatic stem cells are more specialized than other stem cell types. They are generated in certain tissues and organs that store small caches of them in order to replace cells lost during usual daily living or when an injury occurs to that tissue or organ.

Because somatic stem cell types are specialists, their abilities to differentiate are limited

For example, a somatic stem cell of the skin can repair damage to the skin. Or a stem cell that is a blood-forming type can differentiate into the cells that make up the blood, such as platelets and red or white blood cells. However, because somatic stem cell types are specialists, their abilities to differentiate are limited. So a blood-forming stem cell can’t become a skin cell, kidney cell, bone cell, etc.

Unlike other adult stem cell types that are stored in greater quantities in particular areas of the body, somatic stem cells are difficult to isolate. They also don’t tend to self-renew under laboratory conditions. This makes them less desirable candidates for stem cell therapies. They are, however, valuable to research in that they advance medical science’s understanding of normal human development and what occurs to the body in the event of injury or disease.

The Stem Cell Types Most Commonly Used As Medical Treatments

In the practical therapies available to the public today, by far the most commonly used of the stem cell types is the mesenchymal stem cell. MSCs are generally derived from two main sources: bone marrow and adipose fat. Harvesting the cells from bone marrow is still done today, and has come a long way over the past decades. However, it is still a relatively invasive procedure that is physically uncomfortable for the patient due to the need to harvest the cell directly from the bone marrow.

embryonic stem cellsAdipose-fat derived stem cells, however, are largely responsible for the exponential development of the stem cell therapies available today. This is due to two basic advantages in adipose stem cell types.

  1. Potency

The layer of fatty tissue that lies just beneath the skin is known as adipose fat. Almost 20 years ago, it was discovered that this fat layer is a rich storehouse of MSCs that are every bit as potent –some medical experts say even more potent- as those found in bone marrow. Not only that, these stem cell types were found in greater abundance in the adipose fat.

  1. Ease of Harvest

With an abundant source of potent MSCs discovered in adipose fat came the realization that harvesting these stem cell types could be done far less invasively and virtually without pain for the patient. Because the mesenchymal stem cells are so abundantly stored in this fatty tissue, a small sample is all that is needed. Since the sample is derived from the patient’s fatty layer rather than bone marrow, the procedure in very minimally invasive. In most cases, the sample is taken from the patient’s thigh, buttock, or abdomen.

Since those early days of the discovery of adipose stem cell types, safe and effective therapies for a wide range of illnesses, injuries, and chronic conditions have expanded quickly and continue to be developed. Among the conditions most commonly treated with adipose-derived stem cells today are:

  • Arthritis
  • Autoimmune Diseases
  • Back Pain/Injury
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Diabetes
  • Erectile Dysfunction (ED)
  • Joint Pain/Injury
  • Kidney Conditions
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Neuropathy
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD)
  • Spinal Cord Injury

What Defines A Legitimate, Licensed Regenerative Medicine Clinic

While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not directly regulate the use of any stem cell types, it has issued official guidelines. One of the most important hallmarks of a legitimate and properly licensed regenerative medicine facility is that it is fully compliant with FDA guidelines.

Also critical is the training and experience of the physicians and medical staff. Stem cell therapy is a medical specialty. Qualified physicians will have completed formal medical schooling before becoming stem cell specialists. The medical staff of the doctors will have been extensively trained as well.

The best regenerative medicine clinics also incorporate nutritional counselors and physical therapists into their facilities. These auxiliary professionals will have particular experience in the integration of their disciplines with that of regenerative medical methods.

stem cell injectionsPatient Beware

With great progress frequently come frauds and “fly-by-nights” who prey on patients’ hopes and dreams. As with any medical procedure, stem cell therapies should be performed only by medical professionals in a controlled, clinical setting.

Many of these scams are online, claiming that their stem cell types of procedures can return youth or cure a degenerative disease by sending “stem cell” pills, oils, creams, and moisturizers right to your doorstep. These illegal schemes frequently bilk the hopeful patient out of thousands of dollars. Blatantly unscrupulous actors sell these products online, claiming they combine the right ingredients needed to stimulate the body’s resident stem cells for cosmetic as well as therapeutic reasons.

Meanwhile, barely legal products derived from plant or animal stem cell types are showing up on the shelves of pharmacies. Still other illegitimate methods include a storefront set-up that offers injections or “transplant” procedures that contain no true stem cell types but, rather, just a collection of dead cells.

cautionSummarizing then, here are some basic steps to help ensure that you and your loved ones don’t fall victim to a stem cell procedure or product scam:

  1. Never buy products online line that claim they contain ingredients that stimulate the body’s resident stem cells.
  2. Never buy products online or in-store that claim the plant or animal stem cell types they contain will enhance your beauty or your health.
  3. Never trust a “storefront” operation that claims to perform authentic stem cell injections, no matter if the reason is cosmetic or therapeutic.
  4. Always make sure you go to a licensed and legitimate medical clinic or facility for your stem cell procedures, whether for treatment for an injury, illness, chronic condition or purely cosmetic reasons.
  5. Always make sure the regenerative medicine facility is fully FDA guidelines-compliant and does NOT work with any stem cell types other than MSCs, preferably derived from adipose fat.

Regenerative medicine procedures like stem cell therapy and platelet rich plasma treatments are making a real and lasting difference for many thousands of medical patients in the United States. From those who are suffering from a sports injury to those who are seeking relief from a degenerative disease to those who believe that surgery should be a last resort instead of the first attempt at wellness, more and more people are turning to stem cell types of procedures. And more and more physicians are recommending them.

You don’t have to be afraid to explore your own stem cell therapy options. With a little forethought and knowledge, it is easy to tell the difference between facilities that don’t follow a strict code of stem cell ethics and those that are legitimate medical practices.

Are You A Candidate For Stem Cell Therapy?

One of the most commonly asked questions the National Stem Cell Institute hears from people exploring their options is: Am I a candidate for PRP or stem cell therapies?

Patients who usually make good candidates include:

  1. People who are seeking a viable alternative to surgery
  2. People who wish to reduce their dependence on medications
  3. People for whom medications have lost efficacy
  4. People who still have pain and/or stiffness after completing physical therapy
  5. People who experience problems with exercise, sleep, or have pain during normal physical movement
  6. People who don’t feel their problem has been resolved after having surgery
  7. People who suffer from one of the following conditions:
  • Arthritis (both Rheumatoid & Osteoarthritis)
  • Autoimmune Diseases
  • Back Pain/Injury
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Diabetes
  • Erectile Dysfunction (ED)
  • Joint Pain/Injury
  • Kidney Conditions
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Neuropathy
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD)
  • Spinal Cord Injury

adipose stem cells

But this is by no means a comprehensive list. If you don’t see your illness, injury, or chronic condition above, the National Stem Cell Institute has a free brochure with better details. Anyone can download it for free.

What to Look for in a Stem Cell Medical Clinic

When searching for a qualified stem cell therapy center it’s important to remember that not all of them are created equal. Stem cells, when used properly, are your body’s most powerful means for healing that can repair everything from ligaments, tendons, and cartilage to organs including your liver, pancreas and lungs and even neurological tissue like your brain, nerves and spinal cord.

Unfortunately, the majority of so-called “regenerative medicine clinics” in the world aren’t trained in the latest, most technologically advanced procedures and will, therefore, provide poor results if any.

The good news is the National Stem Cell Institute (NSI) has established the most advanced stem cell and platelet rich plasma procedures on the planet which has drawn patients from all over the world as well as professional athletes and celebrities because they are recognized as the best in the world at stem cell therapy.


What makes NSI Stem Cell the top stem cell clinic in the world is demonstrated in 5 key areas:

1. Highly trained and experienced, board-certified doctors and team members who have performed stem cell procedures on thousands of patients with incredible results.

2. Cutting edge procedures utilizing all that regenerative medicine has to offer for many chronic degenerative conditions.

3. Leading scientific researchers who follow the advanced guidelines to maximize the healing potential of your stem cells and to maintain compliance and ethics

4. Use of only the most potent and viable resource of living, viable stem cells and harvested on the same day. No vial that you can purchase will contain living stem cells. If there is no harvest then there are no stem cells.

5. Post-operative guidance for supporting stem-cell growth including rehabilitation, diet and supplement protocols. NSI is a full-service healthcare center focused on patient outcomes. Stem cell therapy is only one tool used to help improve patients’ lives.

Patients have raved about their experience at NSI Stem Cell Clinics testifying that it was their unique cutting-edge procedures that helped them experience a breakthrough when nothing else worked.

If you want to learn more about NSI Stem Cell Clinics, you can set up a complimentary consultation today to see if you are a candidate. You can contact the National Stem Cell Institute at (877) 278-3623.

Are you a Candidate?
Fill out this form to see if you qualify for stem cell therapy.

* Disclaimer: Individual patient results may vary. As each patient’s problem is different, each treatment must be tailored around your specific needs.