Within the last decade scientists have discovered that stem cells circulating in your peripheral blood, and an infant’s umbilical cord blood, are as powerful as those found in bone marrow. Today, cord blood stem cells are more commonly used for therapeutic treatment than bone marrow because they are easier to harvest and can be readily stored in liquid nitrogen for long periods of time.10 The same will likely be true for stem cells from peripheral blood.
Advances in immunology, regenerative medicine, and genomic research have stimulated an unprecedented surge in adult stem cell research. There are over 700 adult stem cell therapeutic clinical trials in progress in the US alone. As these therapies are approved, there will be a tremendous demand for adult stem cells.
If everyone in the US were to need – or want – only one stem cell therapeutic treatment there would only be enough stem cells for 5% of the population today. Even if the government doubled its funding for public adult stem cell banking it would take over five years to build up a supply for 10% of the population.11
Note: for some diseases it is necessary to use allogeneic cells as the DNA in your own cells is defective and may result in a relapse of the condition for which you are being treated.
The only way to assure that you have a supply of adult stem cells when you need them is to bank your and your family’s autologous cells (your own personal stem cells). Generally, your cells will have to be proliferated or multiplied to achieve therapeutic levels. There are a variety of approaches for doing that today inside or outside of the body – with many more being evaluated in ongoing clinical trials.