Bone marrow is a vital biological resource used to treat people with diseases such as leukemia and lymphoma. In addition, it has been utilized for stem cell therapy, as bone marrow contains a large concentration of these valuable specialty cells. Once harvested, these stem cells can help treat conditions such as autoimmune conditions, orthopedic injuries, and neurodegenerative disease.
What Is Bone Marrow?
Bone marrow is gelatinous, soft tissue that fills the center of bones. There are two general types of bone marrow: myeloid tissue or red bone marrow and fatty tissue or yellow bone marrow.
Bone marrow contains capillaries, blood vessels, and stem cells in varying concentrations. Every day, the average person’s bone marrow produces roughly 220 billion blood cells. The majority of blood cells in the human body come from bone marrow, although some are produced by other sources.
Types of Bone Marrow Stem Cells
While there are two types of bone marrow, there are also two kinds of stem cells within that marrow. The first type of stem cells is called mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). The second type is the hematopoietic stem cell.
Hematopoietic stem cells are found in the red bone marrow. These cells are blood-forming. MSCs are found in the yellow bone marrow and are alternatively known as marrow stromal cells. These stem cells are responsible for producing bone, cartilage, and fat.
Stem cells can transform into many different types of cells. As a result, providers and doctors use them to treat various medical conditions, including TBI, glaucoma, and osteoarthritis. While stem cell therapy is still being studied, many patients suffering from these conditions have experienced benefits from this treatment option.
What Is Bone Marrow Aspirate?
Bone marrow aspirate is the material removed from within bones. The process is known as bone marrow aspiration. Medical professionals must harvest bone marrow aspirate to perform specific tests and may also use it for stem cell therapy.
When using bone marrow aspirate for stem cell therapy, the medical staff will use a local anesthetic and the patient is awake for the procedure. They will then harvest the bone marrow from a large bone using a thin needle. The pelvis is the most common harvesting location because of its size and the abundance of stem cells it contains.
Once harvested, the stem cells are concentrated and then readministered to the targeted areas or near the point of injury. Over the next few weeks to a few months, the stem cells work to help stimulate the patient’s natural healing capabilities and have the potential to manage and improve symptoms. If you are interested in learning more about the potential benefits of stem cells, contact a Care Coordinator today!