Mark J. Holterman, MD, is a professor of surgery and pediatrics at the University of Illinois College of Medicine. Dr. Mark J. Holterman is also involved in the emerging field of regenerative medicine and co-founded the Alliance for the Advancement of Cellular Therapies.
The Alliance for the Advancement of Cellular Therapeutics (AACT) works to expand medical knowledge of and patient access to cellular therapies. Cellular therapies involve the transplantation of human cells, which are used to regenerate tissue and treat a variety of difficult conditions.
Adult stem cells are integral to regenerative medicine and cellular therapies. When an injury occurs, stem cells cause tissue around the injury to begin the healing process. Stem cells naturally travel to areas where inflammation is present to facilitate this process, and physicians can now harvest these cells and reintroduce them where they are most needed artificially.
Adult stem cells differ from embryonic stem cells in that they come from the adult patient’s own body. In addition to alleviating certain ethical concerns, adult stem cells carry the benefits of being both abundant and cost effective in medicinal applications.