Worldwide, allogeneic umbilical based cord blood is being increasingly used as an alternative source of stem cells for cell-based therapy for malignant and non-malignant diseases. Especially in the past few years, it has proven great potential in regenerative medicine because it possesses many advantages in contrast to other sources of human stem cells like bone marrow.
Umbilical based cord blood is easily available with low potential for graft-versus-host disease and tumorigenicity as well as infectious complications. Therefore, only blood type must be matched in normal blood transfusions, and no immunosuppression is required.
Moreover, umbilical based cord blood is rich in diverse types of stem cells, mainly blood-forming stem cells, also known as “hematopoietic” stem cells or (HSC), as well as mesenchymal stem cells (MSC). Cord blood cells release high amounts of regenerative proteins that signal the body to heal itself (paracrine effect).
Over the past few years, infusions of umbilical based cord blood have been intensively used around the world as therapy for infants with cerebral palsy. Published studies have shown that cord blood stem cells benefit young children with neurologic injury and with almost no adverse effects.
In the United States, umbilical based cord blood cells have been used in clinical trials for adults with stroke, and more trials are planned for demyelinating diseases like multiple sclerosis, as well as autism and metabolic diseases like diabetes. In China, cord blood stem cells are being administered in a trial for spinal cord injury. (1-4)
Not All Regenerative Cell Therapies Are The Same
In comparison to other cell sources, umbilical based cord blood cells offer improved plasticity and faster growth rates, are more immunologically tolerant, and are readily available without the need for invasive procedures in compromised patients. Other clinics currently use cells found in tissues such as the brain, bone marrow, blood, skeletal muscles, skin, and the liver too. Unfortunately, adult stem cells are limited in their ability to differentiate based on their tissue of origin.
None of these typical sources have the same regenerative properties of umbilical
cord blood-based regenerative cells
Umbilical based cord blood contains therapeutic cells and proteins that support the formation of new neural connections
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1. Kurtzberg J. 2014; Presentation at ISCT meeting; https://parentsguidecordblood.org/en/faqs/how-are-cord-blood-stem-cells-different-other-sources-stem-cells.
2. Reddi AS1, Kuppasani K, Ende N.; Human umbilical cord blood as an emerging stem cell therapy for diabetes mellitus. Curr Stem Cell Res Ther. 2010 Dec;5(4):356-61.
3. Sun JM, Grant GA, McLaughlin C, Allison J, Fitzgerald A, Waters-Pick B, Kurtzberg J.; Repeated autologous umbilical cord blood infusions are feasible and had no acute safety issues in young babies with congenital hydrocephalus. Pediatr Res. 2015 Dec;78(6):712-6.
4. Park SJ, et al.; Tumorigenicity Evaluation of Umbilical Cord Blood derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells. Toxicol Res. 2016 Jul;32(3):251-8.