Posts Tagged ‘cord blood’


Someone wrote:
“I tried to find out how to get this [reversing MS with stem cells] done and all the companies I called require you to pay $15,000 for stem cells they already have and go to Mexico for the procedure. I wanted to use the baby’s cord tissue stem cells”
It’s not a scam. Here’s the deal…
Cord blood is not the only game in town. You also have 80 some odd stem cell derivation sources in your OWN body…
So, odds are one of them WILL work if something goes a bit wrong down the line…
And to the most jaded, cord blood stem cell storage IS a timing marketing coup, hitting parents for stem cell storage to insure their new baby’s health when they are most vulnerable emotionally…
Then again, cord blood stem cells (all stem cells associated with reproduction) ARE very powerful with no known rejection issues…
And, there are also, of course, SOME few conditions that damage your own stem cells or production which might make the use of your existing cells non-indicated, requiring use of stored cord blood cells…
And often, older children didn’t have the opportunity to store cells and these COULD be potentially used for them…
So. Is cord blood storage a grand slam home run of guaranteed use and value? No, it is a hedging of your bets, cellular-level insurance policy against when things go terribly wrong and…that’s why most people do it.
PRICE: $15,000 is a fairly common cost as these are “one off” procedures to assist in recovery from the disease, not a bottle of pills to (maybe) mitigate symptoms. Monthly costs of some drugs are $12k, factor in loss of income, loss of quality of life, etc it all adds up to $15k as a significant bargain over yealry costs of $60k, $80k and more.  Btw, here’s some other procedure costs – the average cost of gastric bypass surgery is $23,000…he average cost of heart bypass surgery is $70-200,000 and on.  And yes, stem cell procedures have a long history of safety and efficacy and should be covered by insurance.  Write your congressman and vote your medical needs.
STEM CELL SOURCE: They wanted to use “stem cells they already have”:
Nobody I know will use cells, basically a tiny handful of unrecognizable goo, taken from someone else, stored by someone else, shipped by someone else to treat someone else. It’s a recipe for disaster and too much can go wrong with accidents, bacteria, reduced bioavailability, etc. Their ONLY using the stem cells they have doesn’t scam you…it PROTECTS you.
LOCATION: “and go to Mexico for the procedure”:
Blame American Medical System resistance to stem cells for the past 15 years, followed by a focus on cyst and tumor causing embryonic stem cells, followed by political and pharma and money and so on. The world has been recovering many chronic and terminal diseases since 2000 which are still incurable in the US because our medical system has been ostensibly blind to the benefits of stem cells for over a decade.




Robin Roberts Returns to GMA. Use of adult stem cells to treat her blood disorder overlooked

Once again a jaunt on the old Gold’s Gym treadmill paid results. Although I had forgotten all about it, Good Morning America co-anchor Robin Roberts was making her triumphant return to ABC’s #1 rated morning show after being on medical leave following a bone marrow transplant to treat a rare blood disorder myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS).

It was great television: a close up of Roberts who told her audience, “”I’ve been waiting 174 days to say this: ‘Good morning, America.’”

During the course of the program (obviously much of which was devoted to Roberts), she reflected on faith, family and physicians.

“There’s so many people that I want to thank throughout the morning, my doctors and nurses and family and colleagues and people who have sat in this chair and those who have blazed the trail before me,” Roberts said. “As my mother said, ‘We all have something.’ Everyone’s story has purpose and meaning and value and I share this morning, this day of celebration with everyone.”

Besides a wonderful story of triumphing over cancer, there is a special association for pro-lifers. Indeed, if the full ramifications of the stories about Roberts were more widely known, it would be a real eye-opener.

MDS damages the bone marrow, making it no longer able to make the healthy cells and platelets we all need to live. Her older sister, Sally-Ann, was Robin’s bone marrow donor. In the procedure, a patient’s damaged bone marrow is eradicated and then replaced with healthy, donated marrow.

Although the words were not used, in fact, the transplant is another example of the successful, even routine use of adult stem cells.

As we reported at the time of the transplant, hematologist-oncologist Colleen Delaney, director of the program in cord blood transplant and research at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, said, “We always call it a bone marrow transplant, but really it is a transplant with blood stem cells.”

Another terrific source is umbilical cord blood.

Obviously there is a better chance of success the closer the match between donor and recipient cells. Ms. Roberts was especially fortunate because her sister was an excellent match. (Finding a family match happens only about 30% of the time, according to a USA Today’s story.)

“The other 70% (more than 10,000 patients each year) have to turn to an unrelated adult donor or donated umbilical cord blood,” wrote Michelle Healy. “Often treated as waste and discarded, umbilical cords and placentas are rich with blood-forming cells, and more recent studies show the outcomes of cord blood transplants ‘are just as good as conventional donor outcomes,’ Delaney said.”

And “Because cord blood transplants don’t require the close genetic matching needed for more conventional bone marrow transplants, they hold special promise for the thousands of patients each year who can’t find a well-matched, unrelated donor, a particular challenge for people of mixed ethnicity and minority backgrounds, says Delaney.”

NRL News Today asked Dr. David Prentice, an expert on the issue of stem cells, to comment. “It is so heartening to see her return, and it further validates the life-saving abilities of adult stem cells,” he said. “I hope she’ll become a champion to speak out and educate people about the real promise of stem cells–adult stem cells.  Many more lives could be saved if only more people were aware of the successes, shown by her example and thousands of others.”

Prentice noted that “No doubt, it’s a harrowing experience for MDS patients leading up to the transplant, with chemotherapy to destroy the cancer in the body.” However, “the adult stem cell transplant is a short and simple procedure—an IV injection into a vein, and the millions of adult stem cells begin looking for a new home. In this case, they will look to make themselves at home as new bone marrow, and begin producing new red blood cells to carry oxygen, white blood cells for immunity, and platelets for clotting.”

His conclusion speaks volume:

“The more we focus on adult stem cells, the sooner we’ll find gentler and more efficient methods for transplants like this one, for other types of cancers, for anemias, as well as spinal cord injury, heart damage, and dozens of other conditions.  Adult stem cells are truly the patient’s best friend.”




Havana (PL). – A British businessman suffering from a cancer that cost him his nose expects to recover the affected organ by a novel technique of reconstruction from its own tissue.  The procedure is being developed by researchers from the University College London (UCL), and it is about making the nasal appendage grow into the patient’s arm in order to transplant it later to the face, hoping also this part can recover the sense of smell.

According to experts, the new nose began to form in a biodegradable mold -based on the original one- with a synthetic material where millions of stem cells were injected.  At the same time they worked the skin of one of the arms, which was extended gradually with a small inflated ball housed beneath the surface. Two months later the ball was replaced by the nose in training, where the appendix is now acquiring networks of nerves and small blood vessels, as well as a skin cover.

After three months, the nose will be grafted into the man’s face, in an operation so precise that it should leave no scars. Whereas his arm will return to normal, said the attending physician team.  Scientists are convinced of the success of the procedure, and they explained that the nasal structure will be even slightly curved to the left, very similar to that lost as a result of their illness.

Some time ago a team of Spanish surgeons rebuilt the face of two children who suffered a serious facial hemiatrophy with adult stem cells extracted from adipose tissue of patients.  This technique, which not only generates volume but also regenerates tissues, is about practicing millimeter punctures in the children abdomen, in order to suck, through liposuction cannulas, the fat that is deposited there.  The material is processed in an aseptic manner, and from the fat are extracted the purest stomach stem cells with the higher regenerative properties, which are mixed with the fatty tissue for immediate re implantation into the patient, in an operation not very complex, they said.

The benefits of this therapy can be transferred to any other soft tissue atrophy, and the results are evident in a few months, because stem cells are regenerated and optimize the quality of the implant after a while, they said.

In fact, a similar technique for breast reconstruction and for improving cardiac function in myocardial infarction has been used.  Besides it has been successful in repairing tissues such as the trachea, esophagus and skeletal muscle in animal and human models, while advancing in the regeneration of organs such as liver, heart and lungs.


Throughout life, cells forming tissues wear out and are degenerated. Advances in medicine based on replacement techniques of damaged tissue have been a revolution not without problems, including the limitation on the number of donor organs, and immunological complications (graft rejection), partly resolved with medication.  It is known that tissue forming part of the body have naturally the intrinsic capacity to self-renew, a process which occurs thanks to the remaining cells with capacity of differentiation.  This has opened a new era in the so-called regenerative medicine using stem cells, which is nothing but exploiting the natural mechanisms of cell renewal to repair damaged tissues, a new concept that opens possible therapeutic paths for certain diseases considered incurable at present.

The old dream of scientists to create organs on demand seems, judging by the progress made, ever closer.

* Journalist of the Science and Technology Editorial Department of Prensa Latina News Agency.




1 Millionth Blood Stem Cell Transplant Marks Major Medical Milestone

The collaborative work of medical scientists and physicians across the globe has resulted in a major medical milestone: the world’s 1 millionth blood stem cell transplant, a procedure that has become a proven and essential therapy for many patients battling blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma, as well as other critical diseases.

The Worldwide Network for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (WBMT) announced the landmark achievement today. The WBMT—a nonprofit scientific organization whose mission is promoting excellence in stem cell transplantation, stem cell donation and cellular therapy—said the 1 millionth transplant occurred in late December 2012. The finding is based on data collected by WBMT international member organizations involved in blood stem cell transplantation, which were analyzed and verified by the WBMT.

“One million transplants is a milestone that may surprise many people, because blood stem cell transplants were viewed as a rare procedure until the last decade or so,” said Dietger Niederwieser, M.D., president of the WBMT and professor of medicine in the division of hematology and medical oncology at the University Hospital of Leipzig, Germany. “But important discoveries—and the vital cooperation of many scientists and physicians around the world—have dramatically improved outcomes for patients who undergo stem cell transplantation.”

The first blood stem cell transplant was reported by Dr. E. Donnall Thomas in 1957, who received the Nobel Prize in 1990 for pioneering the use of this innovative approach to treatment of leukemia and other life-threatening diseases.

By the late 1960s, as knowledge of the requirements for matching patients with donors evolved, physicians were performing successful allogeneic transplants, using blood-forming stem cells from sibling donors (among the first in U.S., Holland and France). In 1973, the first successful transplant between two unrelated people occurred in New York, when a young boy received a transplant from a donor identified as a match through a blood bank in Denmark. In 1988, the first successful umbilical cord blood transplant was performed in Paris.

Since then, a near-exponential rise in all types of blood stem cell transplants, particularly from unrelated donors, has occurred. This is largely thanks to the willingness of now more than 20 million voluntary stem cell donors worldwide. Today, unrelated transplants are often as successful as those that use family donors.

International partners will help make this continued growth possible. Already, data from the World Marrow Donor Association (WMDA), a WBMT partner, show that nearly half of the transplants performed with unrelated donors cross an international border. International donor registries not only expand the pool of potential donors, they help advance the global science of transplantation through the exchange of information.

“It must be especially emphasized that WBMT has contributed to the advances of blood stem cell transplants in emerging countries in the Asia-Pacific region and in the other areas of the world, where the awareness to this medical procedure is sharply increasing,” said Yoshihisa Kodera, vice president of WBMT, chairman of APBMT and professor of Aichi Medical University, Japan.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has recognized transplantation as an important global task, recently recognizing the WBMT as a non-governmental organization (NGO). “Transplantation has extended the lifespan of hundreds of thousands of patients worldwide and enhanced their quality of life,” said Luc Noël, M.D., of WHO. “It has become the standard of care for many patients, and should no longer be restricted to affluent countries or individuals.”

Today, more than 70 malignant and non-malignant diseases are treated routinely with blood stem cell transplantation, providing new cures for patients around the globe. The procedure technique itself has improved considerably because of dedicated cancer centers but also because of collaboration and cooperation among scientists, clinicians, nurses and data managers, as well as the 19 international scientific societies that establish standards, collect data on the procedure and analyze outcomes. In patients with optimal conditions, disease-free survival rates are now reaching more than 90 percent.

“Worldwide, more than 50,000 patients a year are receiving transplants, in regions ranging from the Asia-Pacific to the Mid-East to Central America,” said Dennis Confer, M.D., treasurer of the WBMT and chief medical officer of the U.S.-based National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP). “The curative potential of this therapy will only increase, thanks to the commitment and collaboration of researchers and physicians across the globe.”

BERN, Switzerland, Jan. 30, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) – (www.globenewswire.com)





“Adult stem cells are derived from blood, umbilical cords, bone marrow, placenta, fat tissue, muscle, nasal neurological, breast milk, menstruation, dental pulp, lungs, eyes, pancreas and many more locations. While some are better than others for regenerative treatment, it has long been believed that those cells derived from reproductive associated organs are some of the most powerful.  This study shows that umbilical cord derived stem cells are not as great as once believed.”

In fact, compared to the 100% of mesenchymal stem cells found in cells derived from adipose (fat), only 67% of cord blood stem cells are mesenchymal and lend themselves toward regenerative treatments.*  While bone marrow derived stem cells also have 100% mesenchymal cells, they have reduced proliferation and have a history of causing malignant cells – ‘In addition, Izadpanah et al.** demonstrated that long-term cultivation of MSC beyond passage 20 may result in their transformation to malignant cells.”***

For regenerative medicine, nothing beats adipose derived stem cells. -dg


Only A Specific Group Of Cord Blood Stem Cells Found To Be Efficient For Use In Regenerative Medicine

Scientists at the University of Granada and Alcala de Henares University have found that not all isolated stem cells are equally valid in regenerative medicine and tissue engineering. In a paper recently published in the prestigious journal Tissue Engineering the researchers report that, contrary to what was thought, only a specific group of cord blood stem cells (CB-SC) maintained in culture are useful for therapeutic purposes.

At present, CB-SCs are key to regenerative medicine and tissue engineering. From all types of CB-SC those called “Wharton’s jelly stem cells (HWJSC)” are stirring up the interest of specialists in regenerative medicine, due to their accessibility and great ability to develop into several types of tissue and modulate immune responses.

Through a combination of microscopy and microanalysis essays, and the study of the genes involved in cell viability, the researchers discovered that only a specific group of cord blood stem cells (CB-SC) maintained in culture is useful for therapeutic purposes

The Most Suitable Cells

The relevance of this paper, which was the cover article in the journal Tissue Engineering, lies in the possibility to select the most suitable HWJSC for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. According to these researchers, the different studies with HWJSC have obtained contradictory results because researchers failed to previously select the most suitable cell group.

The results of this study also open the possibility to select stem cell subgroups from different tissues, in order to improve the therapeutical efficacy of different regenerative medicine protocols.

This research study was conducted by the Tissue Engineering research group at the University of Granada Histology Department coordinated by professor Antonio Campos Muñoz, who recently created artificial skin and a cornea by using stem cells and new biomaterials developed in Granada.

The research group is also composed of professors Alaminos Mingorance and Ingrid Garzón. Professor Garzon was awarded a prize at the World Congress on Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine held in Seul for a preliminary study on the same issue.


* , *** Stem Cells. 2006 May;24(5):1294-301. Epub 2006 Jan 12.

** – Izadpanah R, Kaushal D, Kriedt C, Tsien F, Patel B, Dufour J, Bunnell BA. Long-term in vitro expansion alters the biology of adult mesenchymal stem cells. Cancer Res.                                                           2008;68:4229–4238.




Dental pulp stem cells: a promising tool for bone regeneration.

Human tissues are different in term of regenerative properties. Stem cells are a promising tool for tissue regeneration, thanks to their particular characteristics of proliferation, differentiation and plasticity. Several “loci” or “niches” within the adult human body are colonized by a significant number of stem cells. However, access to these potential collection sites often is a limiting point. The interaction with biomaterials is a further point that needs to be considered for the therapeutic use of stem cells. Dental pulp stem cells (DPSCs) have been demonstrated to answer all of these issues: access to the collection site of these cells is easy and produces very low morbidity; extraction of stem cells from pulp tissue is highly efficiency; they have an extensive differentiation ability; and the demonstrated interactivity with biomaterials makes them ideal for tissue reconstruction. SBP-DPSCs are a multipotent stem cell subpopulation of DPSCs which are able to differentiate into osteoblasts, synthesizing 3D woven bone tissue chips in vitro and that are capable to synergically differentiate into osteoblasts and endotheliocytes.  Several studies have been performed on DPSCs and they mainly found that these cells are multipotent stromal cells that can be safety cryopreserved, used with several scaffolds, that can extensively proliferate, have a long lifespan and build in vivo an adult bone with Havers channels and an appropriate vascularization.


Dental stem cell banking facility launched by Stemade Biotech this week in Punjab, India with the intent to expand across the county.    “This will help the people to secure their healthy future. Like timely monetary investments help plan future financial security, dental stem cell banking can help plan for a disease- free body.” said Dr Vikas Jindal.

“Stem cells have a defining property to self- regenerate, which can be used to treat serious ailments. Unlike bone marrow stem cells, extracting dental cells is a noninvasive procedure. Dental pulp contains stem cells, known as dental pulp stem cells. The finest dental pulp stem cells are found in baby teeth or milk teeth. Dental stem cells can generate solid structures such as bone, new dental tissue, cartilage and muscle. Dental pulp stem cell banking can be done on milk teeth of children in the age group of five to 12. Teens that are undergoing orthodontic procedures, such as getting braces, have the opportunity to bank their premolars that are often extracted during the procedure. Adults on the other hand have the opportunity to bank on their dental pulp stem cells through wisdom teeth.”


“Dental Stem cells are Mesenchymal (tissue-related) stem cells whilst umbilical cord blood provides hematopoietic (blood-related) stem cells. Hematopoietic stem cells have the potential to treat only blood-related disorders such as leukemia etc whereas, mesenchymal stem cells have potential applications in all other tissues of our body such as brain for treatment of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, eye for corneal reconstruction and liver for cirrhosis, said Shailesh Gadre Managing Director, Stemade Biotech.”




Toddler beats leukaemia after receiving life-saving stem cell transplant from the U.S

“A seriously ill toddler has been given a second chance at life after receiving a stem cell transplant from the U.S following a transatlantic appeal.  Toddler William Morris had been diagnosed with leukaemia at just six weeks old and intensive chemotherapy had failed to eradicate the cancer.  The 18-month-old desperately needed a stem cell transplant to help his body make new healthy blood cells after his own had been destroyed by the disease. However, no matches from umbilical cord blood donations could be found in the UK.”

“When William was diagnosed with leukaemia, it was devastating. It was the last thing that we had expected. William was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia, a cancer of the white blood cells and bone marrow, when he was just six weeks old. He underwent four courses of intensive chemotherapy, which were unsuccessful, and within a month had a relapse of his condition.”

“But in March last year William was matched with an anonymous donor in the U.S. He was treated on Mother’s Day while in isolation in Newcastle for two months and is now in remission.  William was given a cord blood stem-cell transplant at the end of March and soon began to respond well to the treatment.”

William’s condition is in remission and he continues to be regularly monitored by consultants. Dr Sujith Samarasinghe, a consultant paediatric haematologist at Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: ‘William had a high-risk leukaemia.  Since the transplant he is doing extremely well.  It is early days, but there is now no evidence of leukaemia in his system.”

William 7 mom

“I don’t know who the donor is, but I wish I could send a letter to the mum saying ‘thank you for helping to save my son’s life”, said William’s mother Catherine Wray.


For more success stories click HERE.




“…findings from this study demonstrate the feasibility and safety of Stem Cell Educator therapy and demonstrate that Type 1 Diabetes patients achieve improved metabolic control and reduced autoimmunity that lasts months following a single treatment.”  “…clinical data provide powerful evidence that reversal of autoimmunity leads to regeneration of islet β cells and improvement of metabolic control in long-standing Type 1 Diabetes subjects. This principle may also be beneficial in the treatment of other autoimmune-related diseases.”

Stem Cell Therapy Reverses Diabetes: Stem Cells from Cord Blood Used to Re-Educate Diabetic’s Own T Cells

Type 1 diabetes is caused by the body’s own immune system attacking its pancreatic islet beta cells and requires daily injections of insulin to regulate the patient’s blood glucose levels. A new method described in BioMed Central‘s open access journal BMC Medicine uses stem cells from cord blood to re-educate a diabetic’s own T cells and consequently restart pancreatic function reducing the need for insulin.

Stem Cell Educator therapy slowly passes lymphocytes separated from a patient’s blood over immobilized cord blood stem cells (CBSC) from healthy donors. After two to three hours in the device the re-educated lymphocytes are returned to the patient. The progress of the patients was checked at 4, 12, 24 and 40 weeks after therapy.

C-peptide is a protein fragment made as a by-product of insulin manufacture and can be used to determine how well beta cells are working. By 12 weeks after treatment all the patients who received the therapy had improved levels of C-peptide. This continued to improve at 24 weeks and was maintained to the end of the study. This meant that the daily dose of insulin required to maintain their blood glucose levels could be reduced. In accordance with these results the glycated hemoglobin (HbA1C) indicator of long term glucose control also dropped for people receiving the treatment, but not the control group.

Dr Yong Zhao, from University of Illinois at Chicago, who led the multi-centre research, explained: “We also saw an improved autoimmune control in these patients. Stem Cell Educator therapy increased the percentage of regulatory T lymphocytes in the blood of people in the treatment group. Other markers of immune function, such as TGF-beta1 also improved. Our results suggest that it is this improvement in autoimmune control, mediated by the autoimmune regulator AIRE in the CBSC, which allows the pancreatic islet beta cells to recover.”


To view the full research article – http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7015/10/3

To view the clinical trial – http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01350219


In STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on January 4, 2013 at 9:00 am

Many years ago, researchers tested a theory of using two unrelated units of cord blood to produce an increased volume of stem cells, which would decrease the engraftment time frame in adults suffering from blood disorders. The newly expanded procedure proves promising results and will soon begin human clinical trials.

A team of researchers from the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston has come up with a new way to make stem cell transplants more effective in patients with leukemia, lymphoma and other blood cancers and disorders. The study, whose findings were published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine, is the first of its kind to show favorable results in manipulating one batch of stem cells in patients who undergo a double cord blood transplant. The promising results have paved the way for expanding the study from one site to an international, multicenter clinical trial.
University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center is poised to become one of those sites. Between 15 and 25 patients will be enrolled, said Dr. Marcos de Lima, lead study author who joined UH in the fall to become section chief of hematologic malignancies and bone marrow transplantation at Seidman and professor of medicine at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. With study sites opening up elsewhere in the United States and in Europe, several hundred patients will be able to take part in the trial, said de Lima. He said he hopes enrollment will start within the next year.
Cord blood, which is filled with adult stem cells similar to those found in bone marrow, is extracted from an umbilical cord and placenta shortly after a baby is born. Transplanting cord blood instead of bone marrow or peripheral blood has several advantages, among them that the cord blood doesn’t have to be a perfect match for a patient. That opens up the number of potential matches that are available for patients, especially those who are ethnic minorities. But among the limitations were the time it took for donor cells to begin making new blood cells, called engraftment, and the relatively small amount of cells that can be obtained from one cord blood unit — a problem for adult patients.
The first double cord blood transplants using two unrelated units of cord blood, designed to make transplantation more effective in adults, were conducted more than a dozen years ago. The ability to produce a higher volume of stem cells from the two transplanted units still did not solve the problem of the length of time from infusion to engraftment. “The longer you go without red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets, the more trouble you have,” de Lima said. All of those things are essential to ward off infection, bleeding, and anemia.  To get around that hurdle, the MD Anderson team decided to see if they could make more of the cord blood cells in the lab in conditions that mimic that of bone marrow. One unit was transplanted unchanged, while the second unit was “expanded” in the lab — before transplant — using a type of cell found in bone marrow called mesenchymal stromal cell.
The study, which opened in 2007 and lasted for three years, enrolled 31 patients at MD Anderson, all of whom received two cord blood units with the new treatment. An additional 140 patients from MD Anderson and elsewhere also received two units of unmanipulated cord blood, and were the control group. The result of the expansion treatment was quicker engraftment, compared to other patients treated with the more traditional double cord blood transplant method. The most unexpected study outcome, de Lima said, was the reduction in time it took to resume production of platelets, a key in protecting against excessive bleeding.
“Traditionally, platelets are a big problem,” said de Lima, adding that patients typically have to undergo numerous transfusions. With the new method, “We saw much more consistent, solid [development], and people needed less transfusion. That was a pleasant surprise,” he said.




In STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on December 11, 2012 at 9:00 am


Scientists at Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI) led by Vladimir Serikov, MD, PhD, and Frans Kuypers, PhD, report in the current Epub issue of Stem Cells Translational Medicine that placental stem cells with important therapeutic properties can be harvested in large quantities from the fetal side of human term placentas called the chorion.

The chorion is a part of the afterbirth and is normally discarded after delivery, but it contains stem cells of fetal origin that appear to be pluripotent — i.e., they can differentiate into different types of human cells, such as lung, liver, or brain cells. Since these functional placental stem cells can be isolated from either fresh or frozen term human placentas, this implies that if each individual’s placenta is stored at birth instead of thrown away, these cells can be harvested in the future if therapeutic need arises. This potential represents a major breakthrough in the stem cell field.

In previous work, Drs. Serikov and Kuypers reported a novel technology to harvest blood-forming stem cells from the placenta to augment cord blood cells. These cells are “siblings” of the cord blood derived stem cells. Cord blood stem cells, unlike embryonic stem cells, have been used for many hundreds of successful bone marrow transplants. These transplants are mainly performed in children, as the amount of cells that can be harvested from cord blood is usually not sufficient for a successful transplant in adults. Adding placental-derived stem cells to the cord blood stem cells could make successful adult bone marrow transplants routinely possible.

The current report demonstrates that placental stem cells have much broader therapeutic potential than bone-marrow transplants, because they are pluripotent — i.e. able to differentiate into many different cell types — and they also generate growth factors that help in tissue repair. These cells are shown to integrate into different tissues when transplanted into mice, but like cord blood stem cells, and in contrast to embryonic pluripotent stem cells, they do not form tumor-like structures in mice.

Placental-derived stem cells are often viewed as “adult” stem cells in contrast to “embryonic” stem cells, which are the dominant focus in the stem cell research field. However, this report shows that these fetal stem cells can be harvested in large numbers, and without the ethical concerns attached to the use of embryonic stem cells. These stem cells may thus be a more practical source for regenerative medicine, particularly since, if placentas are routinely saved instead of thrown away, each individual will be able to draw on their own fetal stem cells if future therapeutic needs arise.

Placental stem cells are only 9 months old, and in contrast to adult stem cells, do not need to be reprogrammed to become pluripotent. Placental-derived stem cells have characteristics of young and vigorous cells, including young mitochondria. Future research will be aimed to bring this to the clinic and to test their efficacy in translational therapeutic applications.



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