It is a somewhat very positive idea that human tissues previously considered as waste products (after filling their essential role in the human body) like the placenta and the umbilical cord are radically reinterpreted as valuable sources of prospective therapies due to the current results of stem cell research and regenerative medicine. Exactly this reinterpretation is taking place now with the cells of the regularly produced menstrual blood flow as the first commercially available menstrual stem cell service, C’elle was launched by cord blood banker Cryo-Cell.
The user friendly process in a nutshell: Upon ordering, you’ll receive an attractive, discreet C’elle collection kit by FedEx delivery. Inside, you’ll find everything needed for you to collect and send your C’elle menstrual stem cells for processing and preservation, including a menstrual cup, collection tubes, prepaid FedEx airbill for return shipment to Cryo-Cell, and comprehensive instructions for use.
There are 3 plans and pricings available: annual plan for $499 includes processing & first year’s storage, semi-annual plan for collecting two specimens instead one, and quarterly plan for four specimens, and you have to pay for the annual storage thereafter in the range of hundreds of dollars/year.
Unfortunately we’re short of strict scientific details (summary here) as of this moment, but a peer review article will be published this winter. Scientists involved: Amit Patel, Gerald Elfenbein, Stephen J. Noga, Paul R. Sanberg. What we could know: The characteristics of these menstrual stromal cells are similar of the human endometrial stem cells derived from the endometrial lining of the uterus, but their collection is non-invasive and pain free. Let’s take a look on the table left in which menstrual stromal cells are compared to the more established mesenchymal stromal cells from the bone marrow. I’d like to highlight 2 differences: the menstrual derived cells express embryonic like cell surface markers like SSEA and Oct4 (warning: maybe Oct4 is not important for self-renewal and maintenance of somatic stem cells at all)compared to the mesenchymal cells, while the mesenchymal stromal cells are better in their immunological properties as in some cases they are even able to suppress immunological reactions, while the menstrual cells said to be demonstrated a weak stimulatory response which suggests potential use in first-degree relatives (if the source is the mother, it is probably no good for the father) but not in distant relatives.
I guess the professional jargon would rather call those cells stromal cells as they are not adult stem cells in the sense of being in the adult organism throughout the life and retaining some renewing capacity.