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Studies and clinical trials demonstrate the wide range of potential uses of newborn cells across a variety of therapeutic areas:

22 September 2011: Stem cells and brain injury
Introduction :Stem cell transplantation is a promising therapeutic strategy for the treatment of stroke. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are a potential cell source for clinical application because they can be easily obtained and cultivated with a high proliferative capacity.

The safety and efficacy of cell therapy depends on the mode of cell administration. To determine the therapeutic potential of intrathecal administration of MSCs we administrated human umbilical cord blood-derived MSCs (hUCB-MSCs) intrathecally into the lumbar spinal cord or intravenously into the tail vein in a rat model of stroke, and then investigated whether hUCB-MSCs could enter the brain, survive, and improve poststroke neurological functional recovery.

Conclusions: Together, results indicate that intrathecal administration of MSCs may be useful and feasible for MSCs treatment of brain injuries, such as stroke, or neurodegenerative disorders.

Author: Jung Yeon Lim Chang Hyun JeongJin Ae JunSeong Muk KimChung Heon
Source: Stem Cell Research & Therapy 2011

Heart Repair – According to lab research conducted at the University Hospital of Munich in 2008, umbilical cord blood may someday aid in the repair of babies’ hearts born with defective heart valves. In the study, the research team used stem cells derived from umbilical cord blood. The cells were seeded onto eight heart valve scaffolds constructed of a biodegradable material. The bio-engineered valves acted similarly to natural heart valves when they were tested to see how they would handle blood flow and pressure. Over time, the scaffolds dissolve, leaving behind a fully formed structure made from the stem cells.

Bone Repair - In March 2010, researchers at Columbia University made significant progress in an area of regenerative medicine focusing on bone repair. They report that they created a tissue-engineered jaw bone using mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) derived from bone marrow. MSCs naturally give rise to connective tissue such as bone and cartilage, making bone regeneration one of the most investigated therapeutic areas for MSCs today. These stem cells are also found in umbilical cord blood – and in particularly high concentrations in umbilical cord tissue. MSCs may play a role in advancing these therapies and could bring tissue-engineered bone to the operating room. A number of global institutions are already testing tissue-engineered bones from a variety of MSC sources for safety and feasibility in animals and a trial group of humans.

Spinal Cord Injury - A study published in June 2010 in the journal Spine, found that stem cells from a human newborn umbilical cord can improve neurologic function of rats after an acute spinal cord injury. The rats treated in the study with cord blood stem cells experienced a significantly improved recovery of locomotor function (the ability to move from place to place) over a six-week period compared to untreated rats. In addition, six weeks after treatment, the injured area was noticeably smaller in the treated animals than in the untreated animals. This study adds to the growing body of evidence that supports the therapeutic potential of cord blood stem cells for nerve repair.

For more information, check the deseases treated with stem cells.