When learning about how stem cells work, it is important to know that stem cells are the foundation of all growth and regeneration in your body. All cells eventually can trace their origins back to stem cells. A stem cell can renew itself through cell division or differentiate itself into any other type of cell in your body. Through the production of collagens and amino acid chains known as peptides, the stem cells can create proteins that act as growth factors in your body, causing cells that have been damaged by injury or the effects of aging to renew themselves. Stem cells are therefore not only the mechanisms of traditional growth in your body since before you were born, but they are also the means by which your body can repair or replace tissues without invasive, artificial replacements or pain treatments that simply mask the problems.
Stem cells can be derived either from adults or from the Wharton’s jelly found in donated umbilical cords. In adults, stem cells can be harvested either from adipose tissue or from bone marrow. Both of these extraction methods are relatively invasive, but do ensure that the cells originate within the subject’s own body, cutting down on immunosuppression. The cells are produced so that the body can regenerate tissues and keep itself in good maintenance as a machine. Another type of stem cell is Wharton’s Jelly derived mesenchymal stem cells. These are harvested from a substance called Wharton’s jelly found within donated umbilical cords. This process avoids ethical concerns typically associated with the use of stem cells, and guarantees that these particular cells are free from the effects of aging that can affect adult harvested stem cells.