Updated: Nov 18
Stem Cell and Exosome Therapy: An Overview for use in Functional and Regenerative Medicine
What are Stem Cells?
Stem cells are nondifferentiated cells (like students with an undeclared major) that can be found in nearly every organ in the body including the vessels. A few specific stem cells have been identified for retrieval each having their own special abilities.
1- Embryonic stem cells have the ability to "differentiate" or grow up into any other type of cell found in the body but are not used in mainstream regenerative medicine due to the controversy of retrieval.
2- Tissue specific stem cells are found within organs like the liver and are harder to retrieve but have the potential to grow a cloned organ.
3-Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are retrieved from connective tissue such as bone marrow or chord blood and have the potential to grow into the connective tissue they are injected into such as bone, cartilage, collagen or fat. These cells are easily retrieved without controversy and used to treat many injuries, diseases, or conditions. Due to the MSCs ability to differentiate into various types of cells in the body they are often used in regenerative medicine to repair joints, rejuvenate collagen, or even restore hair growth (Han et al., 2016; Huang et al., 2020; Kim et al., 2022; Li et al., 2022; Ma et al., 2020; Shoukrie et al., 2022).
What are Exosomes?
Exosomes, also known as extracellular vesicles (EVs) are tiny vesicles secreted by cells, that send out regenerative properties. These EVs contain bioactive molecules that aid in cell-to-cell communication and tissue repair also referred to as growth factors. Exosomes are are most often retrieved from platelets, not just because of their abundance and tissue repair capabilities, but also because platelets do not contain nuclei and therefore do not carry DNA sequence but rather a cargo of growth factors that transmit to surrounding cells a repair sequence. Platelet derived exosomes (P-EVs) are most often used in regenerative medicine for joint repair and rejuvenation including hair and collagen growth (Jeyaraman et al., 2021; Tao et al., 2017; Tenchov et al., 2022).
What are the Benefits of Stem Cell & Exosome Therapy?
Stem cells or exosomes are still in the experimental stage, with limited approvals for specific uses such as joint injection but are being tested together or in isolation to treat many conditions including osteoarthritis, autoimmune diseases, heart disease, and neurodegenerative disorders. In regenerative medicine stem cells and exosomes are approved for joint injections for conditions like osteoarthritis with amazing results! More recently, exosomes have been approved for a wider therapeutic range including topical applications in skin care with or without microneedling. Plated is serum contain 1.5 trillion exosomes and is very popular at the Med Spa at Clinical Edge.
Are there any risks or side effects associated with stem cell therapy?
Multiple studies (Han et al., 2016; Huang et al., 2020; Jeyaraman et al., 2021; Kim et al., 2022; Li et al., 2022; Ma et al., 2020; Shoukrie et al., 2022) prove for the use of injectable stem cells and/or exosomes for rejuvenation of the knee. Risks depend on the type of stem cells and the procedure. At the Med Spa at Clinical Edge only MSCs cells are used along with P-EVs limiting the possibilities of abnormal tissue growth. Other potential risks include infection or allergic reactions. Approvals vary by region and condition. Some therapies are in clinical trials, while others have received limited approvals. Because both stem cell and exosome therapies are evolving fields, and research is ongoing it is important to consult with a healthcare professional for a tailored therapeutic approach for the latest information and to determine if these therapies are suitable for your specific condition.
Studies and Research to check out:
- [Exosome-Based Therapy for Tissue Repair and Regeneration](https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30861760/): A study discussing the potential of exosome therapy in regenerative medicine.
- [ClinicalTrials.gov](https://clinicaltrials.gov): A database of clinical trials, including those related to stem cell therapy.
- [Mesenchymal Stem Cell Therapy: A Promising Approach](https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33007183/): A review article discussing MSC therapy's potential.
- [Clinical Trials on Exosome Therapy](https://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/results?cond=&term=exosome+therapy): Find ongoing clinical trials related to exosome therapy.
Han, C., Sun, X., Liu, L., Jiang, H., Shen, Y., Xu, X., Li, J., Zhang, G., Huang, J., Lin, Z., Xiong, N., & Wang, T. (2016). Exosomes and Their Therapeutic Potentials of Stem Cells. Stem Cells International, 2016, 7653489-11. https://10.1155/2016/7653489
Huang, R., Li, W., Zhao, Y., Yang, F., & Xu, M. (2020). Clinical efficacy and safety of stem cell therapy for knee osteoarthritis: A meta-analysis. Medicine (Baltimore), 99(11), e19434. https://10.1097/MD.0000000000019434
Jeyaraman, M., Muthu, S., Gulati, A., Jeyaraman, N., G.S, P., & Jain, R. (2021). Mesenchymal Stem Cell–Derived Exosomes: A Potential Therapeutic Avenue in Knee Osteoarthritis. Cartilage, 13(1_suppl), 1572S-1585S. https://10.1177/1947603520962567
Kim, K., Lee, W., Kim, J., Bae, J., & Jin, W. (2022). Safety and Efficacy of the Intra-articular Injection of Mesenchymal Stem Cells for the Treatment of Osteoarthritic Knee: A 5-Year Follow-up Study. Stem Cells Translational Medicine, 11(6), 586-596. https://10.1093/stcltm/szac024
Li, Y., Huang, P., Nasser, M. I., Wu, W., Yao, J., & Sun, Y. (2022). Role of exosomes in bone and joint disease metabolism, diagnosis, and therapy. European Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 176, 106262. https://10.1016/j.ejps.2022.106262
Ma, W., Liu, C., Wang, S., Xu, H., Sun, H., & Fan, X. (2020). Efficacy and safety of intra-articular injection of mesenchymal stem cells in the treatment of knee osteoarthritis: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Medicine (Baltimore), 99(49), e23343. https://10.1097/MD.0000000000023343
Shoukrie, S. I., Venugopal, S., Dhanoa, R. K., Selvaraj, R., Selvamani, T. Y., Zahra, A., Malla, J., Hamouda, R. K., & Hamid, P. F. (2022). Safety and Efficacy of Injecting Mesenchymal Stem Cells Into a Human Knee Joint To Treat Osteoarthritis: A Systematic Review. Curēus (Palo Alto, CA), 14(5), e24823. https://10.7759/cureus.24823
Tao, S., Guo, S., & Zhang, C. (2017). Platelet-derived Extracellular Vesicles: An Emerging Therapeutic Approach. International Journal of Biological Sciences, 13(7), 828-834. https://10.7150/ijbs.19776
Tenchov, R., Sasso, J. M., Wang, X., Liaw, W., Chen, C., & Zhou, Q. A. (2022). Exosomes-Nature’s Lipid Nanoparticles, a Rising Star in Drug Delivery and Diagnostics. ACS Nano, 16(11), 17802-17846. https://10.1021/acsnano.2c08774