Primer on Stem Cells

Dr. Weeks’ Comment: My students and readers know of my decades long interest in stem cells starting in 1985 with this observation but for the past 2 decades I have focused on those miraculous stem cells which have been seduced and lured to the dark side – the CANCER stem cells.  These cells start out as benign helpful stem cells which stand willing to migrates to any site of injury and BECOME the injured tissue in an effort to help the repair process. When chemotherapy or radiation therapy injures cancer TUMOR cells, these cells recruit benign uncommitted stem cells to migrate to the site of chemo or radiation injury and BECOME not healthy tissue but cancerous tissue  – cancer STEM cells.  These are the cancer cells which can metastasize and these, not cancer TUMOR cells, must be your therapeutic target if you wish to survive cancer.  But having read and understood the preceding sentence, you now know more than your oncologist.  Let’s ask one of  the world’s most distinguished cancer researcher  Prof. Max Wicha, M.D. – director of the Wicha Lab at the U Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Care clinic to weigh in:  WATCH THIS  and READ THIS.

But now, do refresh your memory as to exactly what a stem cell is so you can be fully informed and find an integrative medical doctor who can offer you tomorrow’s cancer treatments today:  Corrective Cancer Care™.


Cell Potency: Totipotent vs Pluripotent vs Multipotent Stem Cells

ARTICLE   May 29, 2018 | By Anna MacDonald, Science Writer for Technology Networks

SOURCE  (click on SOURCE here for better graphics)


Hierarchy of Cell Potency

Totipotent Stem Cells

Totipotent (omnipotent) stem cells can give rise to any of the 220 cell types found in an embryo as well as extra-embryonic cells (placenta).

Pluripotent Stem Cells

Pluripotent stem cells can give rise to all cell types of the body (but not the placenta).

Multipotent Stem Cells

Multipotent stem cells can develop into a limited number of cell types in a particular lineage.

Totipotent vs Pluripotent vs Multipotent Comparison Chart

Totipotent Pluripotent Multipotent
Relative potency High Medium Low
Cell types capable of generating Differentiate into any cell type Differentiate into cells from any of the three germ layers Differentiate into a limited range of cell types
Terminology Toti = Whole Pluri = Many Multi = Several
Examples Zygote, early morula Embryonic stem cells, Induced pluripotent stem cells Haematopoietic stem cells, neural stem cells, mesenchymal stem cells
Found Early cells of fertilised egg Inner mass cells of the blastocyst In many tissues
Expression of pluripotency genes +++ ++ +
Expression of lineage-specific genes + ++ +++
Pros of use in research Easy to isolate and grow Easy to isolate and grow Less ethical issues, less chance of immune rejection if taken from same patient
Cons of use in research Ethical issues Ethical issues, teratoma formation Hard to isolate, limited differentiation, scarce


1Hima Bindu A, Srilatha B (2011) Potency of Various Types of Stem Cells and their Transplantation. J Stem Cell Res Ther 1:115. doi:10.4172/2157-7633.1000115 

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