Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

WHAT ARE STEM CELLS?

Stem cells are unspecialized cells that can divide into more cells of the same kind or differentiate into other specialized cell types, such as nerve cells, muscle cells, skin cells, etc., under certain physiological conditions. They act as a unique internal repair system in many tissues to repair and replace worn out or damaged tissues.

WHAT IS STEM CELL THERAPY?

Stem cell therapy can be defined as the use of stem cells to prevent or treat a disease or medical condition. The therapy is usually administered via injections either intravenously or locally depending on the condition. Our MSCs are derived from the Wharton’s Jelly of the human umbilical cord. 

WHAT ARE THE TYPES OF STEM CELLS?

Embryonic stem cells
Embryonic stem cells are obtained from human embryos. These cells have limitless expansion and pluripotency potential. Pluripotency is the ability to differentiate into any cell type. They play a significant role in regenerative medicine as well as tissue replacement after disease or injury. However, there are major ethical issues in the usage of embryonic stem cells for therapy purposes because the cells are produced by destroying an embryo. Its usage is illegal in many countries like Germany, Austria, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Malaysia. We do not use Embryonic stem cells.

Adult stem cells
Adult stem cells (also known as somatic stem cells) are undifferentiated cells which can be found in many types of tissues in the body (eg., bone marrow, liver and skin). Unlike the pluripotent embryonic stem cells that can divide into any cell type, Adult stem cells are multipotent. Multipotent means they can only differentiate into several distinct cell types. Their primary roles in a living organism are to maintain and repair the specific tissue in which they are found. They do not have the same ethical issues that Embryonic stem cells have. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are a form of adult stem cells that are frequently used in therapy. We use MSCs.

Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs)
iPSCs are differentiated adult cells which have undergone genetic reprogramming to become or behave like embryonic stem cells. The cells are reprogrammed to express important genes for maintaining critical embryonic stem cell properties. iPSCs are useful in drug development as well as modelling diseases today However, additional research is needed and hence, they are only used for research and currently cannot be used for therapy.

WHAT TYPE OF STEM CELLS DO WE USE?

We provide only Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs) derived from the Wharton’s jelly of the human Umbilical Cord (WJSC) and stem cells derived from human exfoliated deciduous teeth i.e. milk teeth (SHED).

​NOTE: We DO NOT use plant stem cells or animal derived stem cells. We also DO NOT provide Cord-blood stem cells.

HOW TO DEFINE MESENCHYMAL STEM CELLS (MSCs)? [1]

MSCs possess the following properties:

  • Adherence to plastic – MSC must adhere to plastic when maintained in standard culture conditions using tissue culture flasks.
  • Specific surface antigen (Ag) expression – ≥95% of the MSC population must express CD105, CD73 and CD90, as measured by flow cytometry.

Additionally, these cells must lack expression (≤2% positive) of CD45, CD34, CD14 or CD11b, CD79α or CD19 and HLA class II.

  • Multipotent differentiation potential – The cells must be able to differentiate to osteoblasts, adipocytes and chondroblasts under standard in-vitro differentiating conditions.
  1. Dominici, M., Le Blanc, K., Mueller, I., Slaper-Cortenbach, I., Marini, F., Krause, Deans, R., Keating A., Prockop, Dj., Horwitz, E. (2006). Minimal criteria for defining multipotent mesenchymal stromal cells. The International Society for Cellular Therapy position statement. Cytotherapy, 8(4), 315-317

WHY WHARTON’S JELLY STEM CELLS (WJSCS)?

Umbilical cord tissue is a popular source of MSCs for regenerative and anti-ageing therapy. This is because MSCs from the umbilical cord originate from extraembryonic tissue and thus, have better stem cells properties when compared to other sources of MSCs. This is because of the young age of the donors.

SHED is also another popular source of MSCs as it can be easily obtained with limited ethical concern. Studies have also shown that stem cell therapy using SHED is a promising therapeutic option for neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease due to their neural crest embryonic origin. These cells are prone to undergo neurogenic differentiation both in vitro and in vivo.

AUTOLOGOUS MSCS VS ALLOGENEIC MSCs

What are Autologous Stem Cells?
Autologous stem cells are stem cells that are derived from the patients themselves who are undergoing therapy. An example would be using the patient’s own stem cells derived from the patient’s fat.

What are Allogeneic Stem Cells?
Allogeneic Stem cells are stem cells that are derived from a donor to be used in therapy and hence, not derived from the patient undergoing therapy. Stem cells harvested and cryopreserved from these donors are revived and administered into the patient. An example would include human umbilical cord stem cells.

What we offer?
We offer Allogeneic stem cells derived from the Wharton’s Jelly of the human umbilical cord and human deciduous dental pulp

Why do we offer Allogeneic stem cells?
  1. Age of donor
  2. Stem cells are more potent and have better differentiation potential when the donors of the stem cells are very young.

    Our clients or patients tend to be above 30 years of age (mostly in the above 40 category). This means that their cells do not have the same regenerative ability that they once did when the client/patient was young.

    The cells in the human umbilical cord are the same age as a new-born baby. Therefore, their ability to regenerate tissue is much stronger. The client/patient would get the youngest possible.

    Since human MSCs are immunoprivileged, they will not elicit an immune response when injected into another person and there will be no rejection.

  3. Standardized predictable outcome
  4. We have established standard protocols to:
    • Screen the donors to ensure they are free from infectious diseases and safe to be used
    • Isolate, harvest, cryopreserve and revive the stem cells.
    • Screen the cells to ensure they are safe for delivery
    We have also administered our allogeneic stem cells on clients/patients with different conditions and we have seen the positive effects and recorded extensive data on their progress. Based this data we’ve collected, we’re able to predict the outcome to the point where it has become standardized.

  5. Less Time consuming
  6. Taking cells from the patient itself would require:
    • An extensive screening process for the donors
    • Establishing a new protocol for isolation, harvesting, cryopreserving and reviving the cells since the cells are different. This would take a lot of time devising, testing and then implementing said protocol
    • Screening the cells again to ensure they are safe for delivery
    Using allogeneic stem cells removes the first 2 steps, as they are already established. It also will take a longer time for the autologous stem cells to work in the patient since the cells are older and less effective.

    In the case of fat stem cells from the own patient, there is the added complexity of how much body fat does the patient have. Using fat cells would require ample amounts of fat, which can only be possible in overweight patients and it would also require surgery to remove that fat. And then we will have to screen the fat cells to ensure if they can be used, and if they are not viable, then the surgery would have been a waste of time and money for the client/patient. Using our allogeneic stem cells would not require any surgery to obtain the cells and there is already an established protocol with a standardized predictable outcome.

WHAT IS PASSAGE AND WHY IS EARLY PASSAGE IMPORTANT FOR MSCs?

Passage refers to the number of subcultures after stem cells are isolated. After cells are isolated and cultured, that first culture is called Passage 0. Cells from that culture are transferred to a new cell culture media, which is called Passage 1. Cells from that culture are then transferred to another new cell culture media, which is called Passage 2. This is to prolong the life or expand the number of cells in the culture.

Early passages are better for stem cell therapy. Cells from higher passage number may alter MSCs potency and efficacy. Studies have shown that early passage number was associated with better therapeutic outcomes. The 1-year survival and response rate in those who received low passage MSCs were 75% and 86%.  Whereas those who received high-passage MSCs showed a lower 1-year survival and response rate at 21% and 36% respectively.

*Source: Nitkin, C. R. and Bonfield, T. L. (2017). Concise Review: Mesenchymal Stem Cell Therapy for Pediatric Disease: Perspectives on Success and Potential Improvements. Stem Cells Transl Med. 6(2): 539-565

HOW DO STEM CELLS WORK?

The most commonly known role of stem cells is their ability to develop into different organs but they also have other properties that can be very important for healing. Stem cells produce over 30 kinds of growth factors and tissue chemicals that initiate the healing process in the body. Stem cells help assemble other local and systemic mesenchymal stem cells to focus on repairing damaged tissue and organs. They are also active in immune modulation to support or suppress T-cell work in the body.

Stem cells are stimulated to travel into an area by signals from the organ depending on chemical, neural and mechanical properties.

Under ideal conditions mesenchymal stem cells would respond to damages and healing would occur. Factors that affect stem cell response include fitness of the patient, age, and the level of free radicals in the body.

5 WAYS HOW MSCs WORK

Differentiation into various distinct cell types for the damaged area.
Rescue of damaged or dying cells through cell fusion.
Secretion of paracrine factors such as growth factors, cytokines, and hormones.
Transfer of organelles (e.g., mitochondria), ions (Calcium, Magnesium, etc,) and/or molecules (RNAs, proteins, peptides, etc) through tunneling nanotubes (TNTs).
MSC-mediated transfer of proteins/peptides, RNA, hormones and/or chemicals by extracellular vesicles such as exosomes or microvesicles
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Image and content adapted from:
*Source: Spees, J.L., Lee, R.H. and Gregory, C.A. (2016). Mechanism of Mesenchymal Stem/Stromal Cell Function. Stem Cell Res Ther. 7(1): 125.

HOW DO I RECEIVE THE STEM CELLS?

Our therapy uses stem cell injections. Every patient has distinct requirements for stem cell injections and upon consultation, a custom stem cell therapy program will be designed for each individual specifically. The program will include information on the administering process, selected routes and number of stem cells to be injected. Depending on each case, stem cells can be:

  • Injected locally (e.g., osteoarthritis)
  • Intravenous injection (e.g., general wellness)
  • Intrathecal injection (e.g., spinal cord injury/Traumatic Brain Injury)

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF STEM CELL THERAPY?

  • Potential to reverse diseases: Stem cell therapy offers a better alternative for many diseases like Parkinson’s, stroke and autism. Many diseases that were hard to treat in the past can now be improved using stem cell therapy.
  • Speeds up healing: Stem cell therapy has been found to reduce the length of time it takes for injuries to heal.
  • Reduces pain: It’s less painful to treat conditions such as chronic joint pain using stem cells.
  • Increases functionality: Stem cell therapy also increases flexibility and range of motion when used to treat joint pain.
  • Reduce risk of injury: Stem cell studies have shown that the therapy reduces muscle compensations as well as the risk of injuries in the future.
  • Reduced over-dependence on conventional medicine.

WHAT ARE THE RISKS OF STEM CELL THERAPY?

Mesenchymal stem cell therapy is considered safe and effective. However, there is still a lot of ongoing research in the field. Hence, therapy should be confined to conditions where there is scientific evidence from reputable and peer-reviewed sources that shows the potential for MSCs to help in improving the condition. As a precaution, you must seek treatment from qualified medical practitioners only. This precaution is important given the existence of many unscrupulous medical practitioners who aren’t qualified to offer stem cell therapies.

Source: Zhao, Q., Ren, H., & Han, Z. (2016). Mesenchymal stem cells: Immunomodulatory capability and clinical potential in immune diseases. Journal of Cellular Immunotherapy, 2(1), 3-20. doi:10.1016/j.jocit.2014.12.001

WHY US?

All our stem cells are obtained from ethical sources. We provide stem cells at passage 2 (premium quality) for better results. Our donors are screened for infectious diseases and the cells are cultured in a sterile environment. Every batch of the cultured MSCs is tested for mycoplasma contamination and harmful bacterial toxins and MSC characterization i.e. Immunophenotyping, Trilineage differentiation and Morphology abnormality, before approval for clinical usage.

All critical equipment involved in the cell manufacturing process are in-vitro diagnostic (IVD) grade and calibrated annually (ISO 17025 standard) according to the International Society for Cell& Gene Therapy (ISCT).

We are the manufacturers of stem cells. We get the therapy direct from the source to the client with no middle-man.