SCIENCE OF STEM CELLS
SVF vs Other Stem Cell Therapies
How is SVF different than platelet-rich plasma (PRP)?
>> DR. MARC PENN: There’s a lot of confusion about what PRP therapy is. The fundamental difference between PRP and stem cell therapy is that stem cell therapy delivers to the patient living cells that will survive for some period of time and continue to release proteins and factors into the tissue to help the tissue repair.
PRP, on the other hand, is simply a mixture of proteins and exosomes that were in the blood at the time it was obtained. There are no living cells, and while some will call it stem cell associated therapy, because yes, there are some stem cells in the bloodstream at any given time, that is a significant minority of cells. And the reality is the PRP really is generated from platelets and things platelets release and has really very little to do with stem cell therapy at all.
How is SVF different from bone marrow stem cells?
>> DR. PENN: The stem cells themselves, between SVF and bone marrow, are similar. Both have mesenchymal stem cells. Both have endothelial progenitor cells.
The difference is, as we age we lose stem cell capacity of our bone marrow, but we don’t in our fat. Furthermore, the fat or adipose tissue has a much higher percentage of mesenchymal stem cells than the bone marrow at any age. So by selecting the fat as the source of stem cells for treatment, we’re getting a richer mesenchymal stem cell number, and we’re also getting the endothelial progenitor cells that go along with the mesenchymal stem cells.
How is SVF different from umbilical cord stem cells?
>> DR. PENN: There are some fundamental differences between umbilical cord stem cells and SVF. The most obvious is SVF is autologous cell therapy. They come from the patient. The patient gets treated with their own cells. Unless you are the person who was the baby with that umbilicus, you’re getting allogeneic cell therapy with umbilical cord stem cells.
There’s a belief that younger stem cells are more potent that older cells. Clinical trials have now shown that you can activate an old stem cell as easily as a young stem cell, and so there’s really little evidence that autologous cell therapy is inferior to umbilical cord cell therapy, and, in fact, particularly in the cardiac space, the most recent studies have suggested that the response to autologous cell therapy is superior to allogeneic cell therapy.
So, autologous cell therapy, or SVF, compared to umbilical cord allogeneic therapy — data would suggest you’re better off with autologous cell therapy, particularly in chronic conditions.