I recently was in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia giving some lectures for the American Academy and Board or Regenerative Medicine. This is an Asian chapter of the board. This was a combined meeting for it also featured a number of doctors throughout the world who were using Very Small Embryonic Like Stem cells. The doctors hailed from a variety of countries including Australia, Greece, Malaysia, Singapore, Pakistan, and the United States to mention a few. The best thing about the meeting was that I meet my good friend Dr. Bill Paspaliaris of Australia. Dr. Bill is one of the most knowledgable doctors that I know when it comes to stem cells. He spearheaded the meeting and he has made available to a select number of physicians his techniques utilizing Very Small Embryonic Like Stem Cells (Vcells) also called Adult Pluripotent Embryonic Like Stem Cells. I feel very fortunate that I am one of the select physicians who is able to utilize this technology. There is now no doubt in my mind that these cells will be game changers.
Let us take a better look at these cells. The following diagram gives us a better look at the hierarchy of the stem cell world. In the diagram we see the various types of stem cells. All of the stem cells in the body can be broken down into these subgroups. Most of the stem cells we are dealing with are in the multi potent subgroup. The V cells(pluripotent group) are above this group and thus represent a tremendous advantage in repairing tissue. One huge aspect of these cells is the they are your own cells. The fact that they are your own cells cuts the risk of using these cells to an extremely small number. The more exciting aspect of these cells is that they are probably the most powerful stem cell in the body. It might be best to consider them an emergency stem cell supply. They are found in everyone but typically they are not activated. The clinical tricks of dramatically increasing their numbers and activating them will remain something that I will not discuss.
When looking at the hierarchy of cells most of the stem cells we are dealing with in the stem cell field are thought to be multi-potent. This means the stem cell can form many different types of tissue. On the other hand the V cells are what we call pluripotent. When a cell is pluripotent it means that it could produce almost any type of cell. We are aware that embryonic cells can produce almost any type of cell. At one time the scientific community was very high on embryonic stem cells but that luster has worn off. We now know embryonic stem cells bring much baggage with them. One problem is that they have the potential to form tumors since there is no built in control of the cells. Another huge problem is that they may attack the body that they are transplanted into. When this happens it is called graft versus host disease. This is a serious problem where the body is at war with the graft. Unlike the embryonic cells, the V cells do not seem to have these problems. This is why the V cells seem to be such a great leap in the stem cell world. We now have a pluripotent cell which appears to be safe, has tremendous regenerative capacity, and can be obtained in large numbers.
Getting back to the conference, there were some excellent talks on some of the more intriguing clinical applications of the V cells. The one aspect that excites us the most is that these cells seem to have a tremendous curative effect on Osteoporosis the weakening of the bones as we age. I presented the results of some of our patients who had unheard improvement in their bone densities in less than a year. We are now launching a study on this very aspect. There were other excellent talks on other aspects of the V cells such as their effect on infertility. A talk centered on the use of these cells for aesthetic purposes including hair loss. Another intriguing aspect of these cells may be their potential effect on dealing with traumatic brain injuries. The size (very small) of these cells may allow them to penetrate the blood brain barrier. Once they penetrate the barrier they could potentially correct the damage of traumatic brain injury by repairing the damage. Remember these cells are pluripotent meaning they can repair any type of cell. By and large it was a great meeting where there was good give and take in scientific ideas. It was a quick trip (Thursday evening to Monday evening) half way around the world but I would do it again in a heart beat. When this type of knowledge is discussed it is a can't miss opportunity that comes along very infrequently. Surely more to come about the V cells. Thanks Dr. P