The primary roles of adult stem cells in a living organism are to maintain and repair the tissue in which they are found. Adult stem cells (ASCs) are unspecialized or undifferentiated cells found throughout the body after embryonic development. ASCs can be found in juvenile as well as adult animals and humans.
An adult stem cell can be found among differentiated cells in a tissue or organ, and can renew itself and can differentiate to yield some or all of the major specialized cell types of the tissue or organ. ASCs multiply by cell division to replenish dying cells and regenerate damaged tissues.
Scientific interest in adult stem cells has centered on their ability to divide or self-renew indefinitely, and generate all the cell types of the organ from which they originate, potentially regenerating the entire organ from a few cells.
Adult stem cell treatments have been successfully used for many years to treat leukemia and related bone or blood cancers through bone marrow transplants in humans. Adult stem cells have also been used extensively in veterinary medicine to treat arthritis in dogs as well as tendon and ligament injuries in horses.
There are different types of adult stem cells including Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), Haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), Neural stem cells (NSCs) and Epithelial stem cells (ESCs). Adult human Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are capable of differentiating into a number of phenotypes, which include cells that are capable of fabricating bone, cartilage, muscle, marrow, tendon/ligament, adipocytes, and connective tissue .