What are Growth Factors and Cytokines?

At Gulf Coast Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine Center, we use more than just stem cells in our treatment protocols. Many of our treatments utilize growth factors and cytokines for their regenerative potential. The body has a many different systems that work together to heal wounds and recover from injuries. In addition to stem cells, our stromal vascular fraction (SVF) and platelet rich plasma (PRP) treatment protocols take advantage of abundant amounts of growth factors and cytokines.

The word ‘cytokines’ comes from the Greek cyto (for “cells”) and kinisi (for “movement”); and we know cytokines are proteins that exist in different forms, often as signaling, complex molecules related to immunity, inflammation, and other functions. They are released by a variety of different kinds of cells and act as messengers. By binding to receptor sites on various cells, cytokines affect metabolism, wound healing, and other processes.

Growth factors are mostly proteins or steroid hormones, which stimulate the growth of cells and tissues, differentiation, and proliferation. By binding to receptors on the surfaces of cells, growth factors stimulate various functions of tissues and cells, changing their activity and growth patterns. In simpler terms, growth factors promote growth on a cellular level. As opposed to injections of artificial steroids, these growth factors occur naturally in the patient’s body. When stem cell are deployed as SVF, derived from the patient’s adipose tissue and containing cytokines and growth factors, to an area of injury or disease, they work in different ways, knowing that suspension of SVF is anti-inflammatory, immuno-modulatory, and regenerative. Both stem cells and messenger molecules participate in influencing the resident cell populations, including dormant stem cells, to regenerate, repair, and heal damage. In addition to communicating with the indigenous cells, the transplanted stem cells themselves can mature and differentiate into other cell types for further repair options.

The treatment protocols at Gulf Coast Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine Center collect concentrations of these growth factors as well as cytokines and stem cells. Using a minor liposuction procedure, we collect a small amount of adipose tissue from the patient, and then concentrate the components that make the biggest regenerative contribution as SVF, and we deploy them to the treatment area. We have treatment protocols for a wide range of diseases, injuries, and chronic conditions, most of which are convenient outpatient procedures that only take a matter of hours. Regenerative medicine with stem cells is at the center of a research revolution, waiting to be fully refined; but it has the advantage of addressing medical problems on a cellular level using the body’s own healing mechanisms. Schedule a one-on-one conversation with Dr. Barmada to learn more.

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