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Current use and clinical studies of stem cells

baby is playingStem cells from cord blood are successfully used today for the current treatment of serious diseases, such as leukemia, lymphomas, tumors of organs, hereditary and acquired disorders of hematopoiesis (blood formation), the immune system and metabolism, using the transplantation of blood-forming stem cells. Cord blood stem cells have already been used in more than 35,000 transplants worldwide to regenerate healthy blood and immune system.

However, modern regenerative treatments are increasing beginning to use various types of stem cells that whole cord blood contains.  Cord blood stem cells demonstrated their potential to improve conditions that have no cure today by regenerating damaged tissues and organs, stimulating the body own healing mechanisms and restoring lost functions.

Nearly 1 in 3 people may benefit over their lifetime from regenerative medicine, including therapies for neurological, cardiovascular, autoimmune, orthopedic diseases.

Regenerative medicine therapies may be the best hope for the patients with a lifetime of disability and impairment. Diseases such as stroke and spinal cord injury, myocardial infarction might possibly be treated with greater efficacy using cord blood stem cell therapy based approaches rather than current treatment options.

Who can benefit from cord blood stem cells treatment?

Treatment with own stem cells (autologous)

An autologous treatment uses the patient’s own stem cells. They are used to treat a particular disease which has been acquired, not inherited. In children, this is particularly neuroblastomas, lymphomas, acute lymphoblastic leukemia, medulloblastoma, retinoblastoma, aplastic anemia, certain types of cancer and other diseases typical of childhood

With age, there is an increasing frequency of the number of diseases which can be treated and globally more blood-forming stem cells are transported using the patient’s own umbilical cord, peripheral blood or bone marrow (60%) than from donor cell (40%). 

Own cord blood stem cells are also being used in clinical trials for the treatment of cerebral palsy, autism, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, acute burns and more.

The first results showed that when adequately dosed, cord blood may improve motor function in young children with spastic CP. Clearly, the more cells, the better results, the upper limit is unknown at the moment.

Storing your child cord blood makes him anytime eligible for an autologous treatment.

Using stem cell from cord blood for a sibling (allogeneic)

In an allogeneic transplant, stem cells are collected from a donor and transplanted into the patient. When using cells from a donor, consistency in terms of tissue type (the HLA characteristics) is needed. The most preferred donor for stem cells is a matching sibling. The likelihood of matching tissue type occurs in 25% of cases. If the child has retained its own stem cells in the family bank, in a case of necessity and matching they may be used by a sibling too.

If the older sibling is ill and the mother is pregnant at the time, your doctor may recommend collecting cord blood for the needs of siblings. In this case, the parents do not pay for the collection, processing or storage of umbilical cord blood. More about the free collection for an ill sibling.

Treatment with stem cells from a donor (allogeneic)

During treatment, stem cells from a donor are used, which may be an unrelated person.  Finding a matching donor is the key to a successful allogeneic stem cell transplant. Matching cells can be searched in the register of donors of umbilical cord blood. The Cord Blood Center Group includes the public register, Eurocord-Slovakia, which is linked to an international database of public registers.

Umbilical cord blood from public registers is used especially for treating leukemia in children and adults or genetic disorders of blood formation and metabolism in child patients.

Allogeneic (donated) cord blood stem cells recently became being used in clinical trials for medicine regenerative applications. After the first promising results in the treatment of children with cerebral palsy, in order to extend this therapy, it was considered the possibility of using allogeneic cord blood in adults with ischemic stroke.

Very often there are misunderstandings over who can use cord blood stem cells in treatment. The short answer is it very much depends on the disease being treated. And it is finally the doctor’s decision.

More cells, more life

Preclinical and clinical studies with stem cells from cord blood, umbilical cord tissue, and placental tissue:

Current clinical studies
Umbilical cord blood
1. Cerebral palsy, other acquired neurological disease in children, Ischemic Stroke, Traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury, Autism, Acquired Hearing Loss in children, Alzheimer disease
2. Hypoplastic left heart syndrome
3. Crohn’s disease
4. Diabetes type I, II
5. Regeneration of bone tissue and cartilage
6. Rheumatoid arthritis
7. New approaches for transplantation of cord blood unit
8. Diabetic foot
9. Malignant and non-malignant diseases

Umbilical cord tissue
1. Systemic lupus erythematosus, Autism
2. Spinal Cord Injury
3. Cardiomyopathy
4. Hepatic failure and liver cirrhosis
5. Diabetes type I, II
6. Rheumatoid Arthritis, Ulcerative Colitis
7. GVHD for hematopoietic stem cell transplantation
8. Critical limb ischemia, extensive and severe burns
9. Multiple sclerosis, osteoarthritis

Placental tissue
1. HIE (Hypoxia of the brain at birth)
2. Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis
3. Ankylosing spondylitis
4. Support for hematopoietic stem cell transplantation
5. Crohn’s disease
6. Erectile dysfunction
7. Malignant and non-malignant hematological diseases


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