Stem cell facts and figures
Stem cells are the cells that regenerate and repair the physical body. The main areas of stem cell storage are the adipose tissue (body fat) and bone marrow. Stem cells are also found in circulating blood. The higher the number of circulating stem cells the greater the ability to recruit more stem cells from bone marrow, leading to better recovery of the injured body part. Women on average release more stem cells than men, and younger people have better ability to mobilize stem cells compared with older people. Stem cells used for clinical reasons are autologous stem cells (i.e. derived from your own fat tissue and given back to you).
- Adipose tissue contains approximately 100,000-1,000,000 stem cells per gram of tissue
- There are approximately 2,500 stem cells per ml of blood (range 100-10,000 cells per ml)
- Stem cells in blood have circadian rhythms (6x higher between midday to afternoon than at 2-4am)
- There is approx 1 stem cell for every 10,000 cells in bone marrow.
- Stem cells are responsible for the regeneration of the physical body, replacing cells that die off (e.g. 7 million heart cells die each year). The heart is completely replaced every 20-40 years, new lungs every 4 years, new pancreas and liver every 3 years.
- Dr Diane Krause showed that one stem cell completely reconstituted an entire blood system of red blood cells, lymphocytes and platelets in animal research (Krause DS et al, Cell 2001,105;369-377.)
- People with a higher number of circulating stem cells have a lower risk of heart attack (Werner N et al, New England J Medicine 2005,353;999-1007.)
- In a study of stem cells to treat insulin dependent diabetes, results showed 13/14 patients to have insulin-free episodes from 1-35 months (average 16 months) (Voltarelli JC, J American Medical Assoc 2007,297;1568-1576). Further studies have shown that hypertension, arthritis, lupus, kidney failure and migraines are associated with low levels of stem cells.
- Stem cells have been found to reduce neuropathic pain (animal model) that has been replicated in three studies (Gou W, Stem Cells 2011;29:1294–1303)
Dr Russell Vickers BDS, MDSc, MScMed, PhD, FFPMANZCA completed Federal Government post graduate stem cell training in 2010, and laboratory research and clinical patients since 2011. Russell is a Clinical Senior Lecturer in the Dept of Anaesthesia and Pain Management, University of Sydney Medical School and has 20 publications in laboratory and clinical research.
Dr Peter Vickers BDS, MBBS, FRACDS, FRCS, FRCS(Ed) has over 25 years experience in major oral and maxillofacial surgery and has a keen interest in bone regeneration. He has performed over 3,500 major operations in oral/ head and neck cancer, orthognathic surgery and maxillofacial trauma.
Referrals for appointments may be made to The Maxillo Facial Unit at Macquarie University Hospital.
1. Guo W et al. Stem Cells 2011;29:1294–1303
2. Amaral TMP et al. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol 2012;113(5):628-637
3. MäenpääK et al. J R Soc Interface 2010;7(42):177–188
4. Yoshioka M et al. Int J Dent. 2012; 2012: 352510