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    You are here : Home » MS Research News » Stem Cell Research & Treatment » General Stem Cell Research » Umbilical Cord and Placental Stem Cells

    Umbilical Cord and Placental Stem Cells

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    Cord Blood Stem Cells (CBSCs)can be retrieved from umbilical cord blood. After a baby is born and the umbilical cord has been cut, blood is retrieved from the umbilical cord and placenta.

    Neuroprotective effects seen in rats receiving placenta-derived stem cell transplant

    Stem CellsIn a study presented at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's annual meeting, The Pregnancy Meeting™, in Dallas, Texas, researchers reported that early transplantation of human placenta-derived mesenchymal stem cells into the lateral ventricles of neonatal rats with birth-related brain damage is possible, and that the donor cells can survive and migrate in the recipient's brain.

    The study was designed to have the rat's brain damage mimic brain injury in infants with very low birth weight.

    One of the major causes of neonatal brain damage is preterm delivery. Despite enormous efforts to prevent it, brain injury accounts for a major part of the clinical problems experienced by survivors of premature birth. The enormity of this problem is indicated by the occurrence of: cognitive, behavioral, attention related and/or socialization deficits in twenty-five to fifty percent of cases in this group; and major motor deficits in five to ten percent of cases in this group.

    The majority of neonatal encephalopathy cases are found in infants with a very low birth weight, and include both hypoxia-ischemia and inflammation, a double-hit. Approximately 63,000 infants are born in the United States with a very low birth weight (one to five percent of all live births). In order to understand the effect of such a double-hit insult in very premature infants, this study, Early Intracranial Mesenchymal Stem Cell Therapy After a Perinatal Rat Brain Damage, was undertaken to investigate the neuroprotective effects of mesenchymal stem cells therapy on postnatal rats, whose injury was designed to mimic brain injury in infants with a very low birth weight.

    "Stem cells are a promising source for transplant after a brain injury because they have the ability to divide throughout life and grow into any one of the body's more than 200 cell types, which can contribute to the ability to renew and repair tissues," said Martin Müller, MD, with the University of Bern, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Bern, Switzerland, and one of the study's authors. "In our study, the donor cells survived, homed and migrated in the recipient brains and neurologic improvement was detected."

    Assessment of the post-experiment brain damage indicated a neuroprotective effect of mesenchymal stem cell transplantation and a combination of mesenchymal stem cell and erythropoietin (a modulator substance the subjects received on postnatal days six, seven and eight) therapy.

    Source: Medical News Today © MediLexicon International Ltd 2004-2012 (13/02/12)

    Brain support cells from umbilical cord stem cells

    Stem CellsFor the first time ever, stem cells from umbilical cords have been converted into other types of cells, which may eventually lead to new treatment options for spinal cord injuries and multiple sclerosis, among other nervous system diseases.

    "This is the first time this has been done with non-embryonic stem cells," says James Hickman, a University of Central Florida bioengineer and leader of the research group, whose accomplishment is described in the journal ACS Chemical Neuroscience.

    "We're very excited about where this could lead because it overcomes many of the obstacles present with embryonic stem cells."

    Stem cells from umbilical cords do not pose an ethical dilemma because the cells come from a source that would otherwise be discarded. Another major benefit is that umbilical cells generally have not been found to cause immune reactions, which would simplify their potential use in medical treatments.

    The pharmaceutical company Geron, based in Menlo Park, Calif., developed a treatment for spinal cord repair based on embryonic stem cells, but it took the company 18 months to get approval from the FDA for human trials due in large part to the ethical and public concerns tied to human embryonic stem cell research. This and other problems recently led to the company shutting down its embryonic stem cell division, highlighting the need for other alternatives.

    Sensitive Cells

    The main challenge in working with stem cells is figuring out the chemical or other triggers that will convince them to convert into a desired cell type. When the new paper's lead author, Hedvika Davis, a postdoctoral researcher in Hickman's lab, set out to transform umbilical stem cells into oligodendrocytes - critical structural cells that insulate nerves in the brain and spinal cord - she looked for clues from past research.

    Davis learned that other research groups had found components on oligodendrocytes that bind with the hormone norephinephrine, suggesting the cells normally interact with this chemical and that it might be one of the factors that stimulates their production. So, she decided this would be a good starting point.

    In early tests, she found that norepinephrine, along with other stem cell growth promoters, caused the umbilical stem cells to convert, or differentiate, into oligodendrocytes. However, that conversion only went so far. The cells grew but then stopped short of reaching a level similar to what's found in the human nervous system.

    Davis decided that, in addition to chemistry, the physical environment might be critical.

    To more closely approximate the physical restrictions cells face in the body, Davis set up a more confined, three-dimensional environment, growing cells on top of a microscope slide, but with a glass slide above them. Only after making this change, and while still providing the norephinphrine and other chemicals, would the cells fully mature into oligodendrocytes.

    "We realized that the stem cells are very sensitive to environmental conditions," Davis said.

    Medical Potential

    This growth of oligodendrocytes, while crucial, is only a first step to potential medical treatments. There are two main options the group hopes to pursue through further research. The first is that the cells could be injected into the body at the point of a spinal cord injury to promote repair.

    Another intriguing possibility for the Hickman team's work relates to multiple sclerosis and similar conditions. "Multiple sclerosis is one of the holy grails for this kind of research," said Hickman, whose group is collaborating with Stephen Lambert at UCF's medical school, another of the paper's authors, to explore biomedical possibilities.

    Oligodendrocytes produce myelin, which insulates nerve cells, making it possible for them to conduct the electrical signals that guide movement and other functions. Loss of myelin leads to multiple sclerosis and other related conditions such as diabetic neuropathy.

    The injection of new, healthy oligodendrocytes might improve the condition of patients suffering from such diseases. The teams are also hoping to develop the techniques needed to grow oligodendrocytes in the lab to use as a model system both for better understanding the loss and restoration of myelin and for testing potential new treatments.

    "We want to do both," Hickman said. "We want to use a model system to understand what's going on and also to look for possible therapies to repair some of the damage, and we think there is great potential in both directions."

    Source: Medical News Today © MediLexicon International Ltd 2004-2012 (19/01/11)

    Breaching the blood/brain barrier may improve treatment of MS

    Blood Brain BarrierThe University of South Florida's Department of Neurosurgery and Brain Repair has been granted a patent for a cell transplantation procedure combining human umbilical cord blood (HUCB) cells and a sugar-alcohol compound called "mannitol" that may make a big difference in treating life-threatening neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis and stroke, among others.

    The technology administers the neuroprotective effect of umbilical cord blood cells along with mannitol to permeabilize the blood-brain barrier, allowing for the increased entry of therapeutic growth factors. Saneron CCEL Therapeutics, Inc., a biotechnology R&D USF spin-out company located at the Tampa Bay Technology Incubator, has licensed the technology.

    "Approximately 750,000 strokes occur every year in the United States, and nearly one third of them are fatal," said Saneron's President and COO, Nicole Kuzmin-Nichols, MBA. "Given the devastating effects of stroke, it is imperative that we develop new therapies to minimize damage to the brain as well as repair the damage. We are excited about this new technology and its potential to help us develop a variety of new products and therapies to do just that."

    While transplanted HUCB cells may benefit several neurological diseases, getting them past the blood-brain-barrier has presented a problem. The blood-brain barrier separates circulating blood and cerebral spinal fluid in the central nervous system. The newly patented technology is based on mannitol acting as a blood-brain barrier permeabilizer to help get the therapeutic substances secreted by HUCB cells past the blood-brain barrier and into the central nervous system. Mannitol, which temporarily shrinks the tight cells that make up the barrier, allows HUCB cells, via their secreted factors, to reach the site of injury or disease.

    "Human umbilical cord blood contains a high percentage of stem cells that when intravenously administered can survive and differentiate into neurons in the damaged brain. Equally appealing is their ability to secrete beneficial molecules that potentially promote behavioral recovery," said Dr. Cesar Borlongan, co-inventor and a USF neuroscientist and professor and consultant for Saneron. "Because the blood-brain barrier regulates the entry of many blood-borne substances into the brain, it may exclude potentially therapeutic substances."

    "The use of stem cell therapy as a treatment for neurodegenerative disorders shows exciting promise, though several hurdles must be overcome and getting the cells correctly positioned is one of those," said Nicole Kuzmin-Nichols. "This technology provides the means to deliver the HUCB cells directly to the damaged brain to maximize their effect."

    Source: Medical News Today © 2010 MediLexicon International Ltd (09/07/10)

    Neurological Disorders: A Focus On Cord Blood Stem Cells As A Potential Treatment Option

    Today there are more than 600 known disorders and conditions that affect the nervous system and for many of them treatment options are extremely limited. In addition to the physical and mental toll these conditions take on patients, their families and caregivers, they also have an enormous economic impact, resulting in hundreds of billions of dollars annually in medical expenses and lost productivity.(1)

    Scientists are pursuing research to gain a better understanding of the human nervous system in order to find new breakthroughs. Stem cell therapy is one therapeutic option that is showing great promise. Due to the complexities involved in harvesting human neural cells, easily-accessible, alternative stem cells - like those found in umbilical cord blood - are being researched as potential sources for cellular therapies to treat neurological diseases.

    A Closer Look at Cerebral Palsy

    Cerebral palsy is a broad term that refers to a group of neurological disorders caused by an injury to the brain that affect body movement and muscle coordination.(2) An estimated two million children and adults have cerebral palsy in the United States, and an additional 10,000 babies and infants are diagnosed with the condition annually.(3)

    There is currently no cure for cerebral palsy and no standard therapy that works for all patients. Since many of the brain damage-related incidents that cause cerebral palsy occur during pregnancy, prevention is often difficult - leading many researchers to believe regenerative stem cell therapies may offer a treatment option to regenerate nerve tissue and repair damage to the brain.

    Moving into the Clinic: Cord Blood as Experimental Treatment

    In vitro studies have shown cord blood stem cells are able to differentiate into neural cell types.(4,5,6) In animal models, research has demonstrated convincing evidence that cord blood stem cells injected intravenously migrate to the brain (passing the blood-brain barrier) and improve neurological function and promote healing.(7,8,9) The results from such studies lead many researchers to suggest that infusion of cord blood stem cells could alleviate damage to the brain tissue, reduce muscle tightness, and improve gait and mobility-related symptoms in humans.(7,8,9)

    This research also lends support for the pioneering clinical work at Duke University, focused on evaluating the impact of autologous cord blood infusions in children diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Dr. Joanne Kurtzberg, a professor of pediatrics and pathology and director of Duke's Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant Program, is infusing the child's cord blood stem cells back into the body in an effort to facilitate repair of brain tissue damaged by perinatal hypoxic (oxygen-deprived) events. To date, more than 20 children have participated in the experimental treatment.

    Beyond Cerebral Palsy: Cord Blood and Other Neurological Disorders

    The promising advances being made in cerebral palsy may soon benefit patients with other neurological diseases as well. In animal models of spinal cord injury, cord blood stem cells have been shown to reduce the size of injury, promote neural tissue growth and improve motor function, leading researchers to believe that cord blood stem cells may prove to be a useful therapeutic strategy to repair injured spinal cords.(10,11,12,13) In fact, a case study published in 2005 showed that a 37-year-old spinal cord injury patient who received a transplant of cord blood stem cells directly into the injured site showed improved sensory perception and movement in the hips and thighs within 41 days of treatment. CT and MRI results also showed regeneration of the spinal cord at the injured site.(14)

    Regenerative Medicine: A New Frontier

    Regenerative medicine, using stem cells to repair or replace damaged tissue, is an area of study in which cord blood stem cells hold great promise. Current estimates indicate that approximately 1 in 3 Americans could benefit from regenerative medicine.(15) Other recently published data indicate that as many as 1 in 217 people will undergo a traditional stem cell transplant in their lifetime. When accounting for future stem cell applications, like emerging regenerative medicine therapies, the researchers estimated the odds of needing a stem cell transplant will be 1 in 102 persons.(16)

    For use in regenerative therapies, current scientific use suggests that access to autologous (one's own) stem cells offers better treatment options for patients. Because younger patient populations are more likely to have access to their own cord blood, this therapeutic advancement may hold the greatest hope among children. Cord blood will continue to be evaluated for cerebral palsy and other neurological disorders in the future as more individuals have access to their preserved, autologous cord blood.

    1 National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. NINDS Overview page. Available at: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/about_ninds/ninds_overview.htm. Accessed March 2008.
    2 Department of Health and Human Services Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Cerebral Palsy Fact Sheet.
    Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/ActEarly/cerebral_palsy.html. Accessed March 2008.

    3 United Cerebral Palsy. Cerebral Palsy Fact Sheet. http://www.ucp.org/uploads/cp_fact_sheet.pdf. Accessed April 2008.

    4 Jang YK, Park JJ, Lee MC, Yoon BH, Yang YS, Kim SU. Retinoic acid-mediated induction of neurons and glial cells from human umbilical cord-derived hematopoietic stem cells. Journal of Neuroscience Research. 2004; 75:573-584.

    5 McGuckin C, Forraz N, Allouard Q, Pettengell R. Umbilical cord blood stem cells can expand hematopoietic and neuroglial progenitors in vitro. Experimental Cell Research. 2004;295(2):350-359.

    6 Lee MW et al. Neural differentiation of novel multipotent progenitor cells from cryopreserved human umbilical cord blood. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2007;358(2):637-43.

    7 Meier C, Middelanis J, Wasielewski B, Neuhoff S, Roth-Haerer A, Gantert M, Dinse HR, Dermietzel R, Jensen A. Spastic paresis after perinatal brain damage in rats is reduced by human cord blood mononuclear cells. Pediatric Research.2006;59(2):244-249.

    8 Lu D, Sanberg PR, Mahmood A, Li Y, Wang L, Ramos J, Chopp M. Intravenous administration of human umbilical cord blood reduces neurological deficit in the rat after traumatic brain injury. Cell Transplant. 2002;11:275-281.

    9 Chen J, Sanberg PR, Li Y, Wang J, et al. Intravenous administration of human umbilical cord blood reduces behavioral deficits after stroke in rats. Stroke. 2001;32(11):2682-2688.

    10 Kuh SU, Cho YE, Yoon DH, Kim KN, Ha Y. Functional recovery after human umbilical cord blood cells transplantation with brain-derived neutrophic factor into the spinal cord injured rat. Acta Neurochir. 2005;9(147):985-92.

    11 Dasari VR, Spomar DG, Gondi CS, Sloffer CA, Saving KL, Gujrati M, Rao JS, Dinh DH. Umbilical cord blood stem cell mediated downregulation of fas improves functional recovery of rats after spinal cord injury. Neurochem Res. 2008;33(1):134-49.

    12 Kao CH, Chen SH, Chio CC, Lin MT. Human umbilical cord blood-derived CD34+ cells may attenuate spinal cord injury by stimulating vascular endothelial and neurotrophic factors. Shock. 2008;29(1):49-55.

    13 Nishio Y, Koda M, Kamada T et al. The use of hemopoietic stem cells derived from human umbilical cord blood to promote restoration of spinal cord tissue and recovery of hindlimb function in adult rats. J Neurosurg Spine. 2006;5(5):424-33.

    14 Kang KS, Kim SW, Oh, YH, Yu, JW, Kim KY, Park HK, Song CH, Han H. A 37-year-old spinal cord-injured female patient, transplanted of multipotent stem cells from human UC blood, with improved sensory perception and mobility, both functionally and morphologically: a case study. Cytotherapy. 2005;7(4):368-373.

    15 Harris DT et al. The Potential of Cord Blood stem Cells for Use In Regenerative Medicine. Expert Opin Biol Ther. 2007;7(9):1311-1322.

    16 Nietfeld JJ, Pasquini MC, Logan BR, Verter F, Horowitz MM. Lifetime probabilities of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation in the U.S. Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation. 2008;14:316-322.

    Source: Medical News Today © 2008 MediLexicon International Ltd (23/06/08)

    Rules for cord blood collection

    The collection of cord blood at birth in the UK is to be closely regulated for the first time.

    Under the rules announced by the Human Tissue Authority (HTA), collection can only be carried out by a trained specialist at an approved premise.

    Samples must also be traceable from collection to any use in treatments.

    The trend of collecting cord blood in public or private banks for potential medical applications has grown more popular in recent years.

    Thousands of couples have already paid large sums to store samples which - because they are a rich source of stem cells - could potentially be used in the treatment of disease.

    Stem cells have the potential to turn into many different types of tissue, and in theory could be used to repair or replace damaged tissue.

    In particular it is hoped that they could help replenish lost blood cells, providing an alternative to bone marrow transplant for leukaemia patients.

    However, a Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists report has warned that there was "insufficient evidence" to recommend the practice.

    Safety key

    The HTA is keen to ensure that the practice is safe for those people who want to press ahead anyway.

    To that end it will only grant a licence if the applicant can demonstrate procedures are in place which will help prevent any medical attention being drawn away from mother or child during collection.

    Adrian McNeil, HTA chief executive, said: "We are introducing this regulation to make sure that the best quality samples are taken in the safest way.

    "We have heard that fathers, who of course have no experience in collecting cord blood, may be involved in this procedure.

    "The worry is that if inexperienced people are involved, this will not be done at the right time and in the right way.

    "The result is that the best samples may not be collected. It is also important for the midwife to be allowed to concentrate on the welfare of the mother and child."

    The new rules have been drawn up following widespread consultation of people working in the field.

    Professor Peter Braude, chairman of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists' expert committee on Umbilical Stem Cell Banking, welcomed the new regulations.

    He said: "There is clear evidence from the NHS Cord Blood Bank that collection conditions can influence the likelihood of stem cells being obtained from the umbilical cord blood samples collected."

    Belinda Phipps, of the National Childbirth Trust, welcomed the new safeguards.

    She said: "It is vital that the birth and immediate post birth period is not disrupted and that the midwife is not distracted from her primary role.

    "Care must be taken not to deprive the baby of blood from the cord or placenta.

    "It is also important that, if parents choose to have a sample taken in the hope that science will advance enough to make effective use of it, that the sample remains identifiable and in a viable condition."

    Source: BBC News © BBC MMVIII (30/04/08)

    Injection Of Human Umbilical Cord Blood Helps The Aging Brain, Study Shows
    When human umbilical cord blood cells (UCBC) were injected into aged laboratory animals, researchers at the University of South Florida (USF) found improvements in the microenvironment of the hippocampus region of the animals’ brains and a subsequent rejuvenation of neural stem/progenitor cells.

    The research presented the possibility of a cell therapy aimed at rejuvenating the aged brain. “Brain cell neurogenesis decreases dramatically with increasing age, mostly because of a growing impoverishment in the brain’s microenvironment,” said co-author Alison Willing, PhD, of the USF Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair. “The increase in neurogenesis we saw after injecting UCBCs seemed to be due to a decrease in inflammation.” According to lead author Carmelina Gemma, Ph.D., of the James A. Haley Veterans Administration Medical Center (VA) and USF, the decrease in neurogenesis that accompanies aging is a result of the decrease in proliferation of stem cells, not the loss of cells. “In the brain, there are two stem cell pools, one of which resides in the hippocampus,” explained graduate student and first author Adam Bachstetter. “As in other stem cell pools, the stem cells in the brain lose their capacity to generate new cells. A potent stressor of stem cell proliferation is inflammation.”

    Prior to this study, the research team led by Paula C. Bickford, Ph.D., of the VA and USF found that reducing neuroinflammation in aged rats by blocking the synthesis of the pro-inflammatory cytokine IL1 rescued some of the age-related decrease in neurogenesis and improved cognitive function. “We think that UCBCs may have a similar potential to reduce inflammation and to restore some of the lost capacity of stem/progenitor cells to proliferate and differentiate into neurons,” said Dr. Bickford. The study found that the number of proliferative cells increased within 24 hours following the UCBC injections into the aged laboratory rats and that the increased cell proliferation continued for at least 15 days following a single treatment. “We have shown that injections of UCBCs can reduce neuroinflammation,” concluded co-author Paul R. Sanberg, Ph.D. D.Sc. director of the Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair. “Our results raise the possibility that a cell therapy could be an effective approach to improving the microenvironment of the aged brain and restoring some lost capacity.”

    Citation: Bachstetter, AD, Pabon, MM, Cole, MJ, Hudson, CE, Sanberg, PR, Willing, AE, Bickford, PC, Gemma, C. Peripheral injection of human umbilical cord blood stimulates neurogenesis in the aged rat brain. BMC Neuroscience, 9(1), 2008, 22 (Epub ahead of print).

    The USF study was supported by the National Institutes of Health and the VA Medical Research Service.

    Source: Science Daily © 1995-2008 ScienceDaily LLC (11/03/08)

    Scientists plan China, HK, Taiwan stem cell trial
    Scientists are preparing for a large clinical trial in 2008 which aims to use stem cells to help 400 patients with spinal cord injuries in Hong Kong, mainland China and Taiwan grow new cells and nerve fibres.

    Stem cells from umbilical cord blood will be injected into the spinal cords of the participants, who will also be given lithium to help stimulate cell regeneration, said Wise Young, a leading neuroscientist and spinal cord injury researcher.

    "What we'd like to do is study a broad range of patients, not just (those with) complete (spinal cord injuries)," said Young, professor at Rutgers' department of cellbiology and neuroscience. Rutgers is the state university in New Jersey in the U.S.

    Researchers are now giving lithium to 20 patients in Hong Kong in the phase 1 safety and feasibility trial. Lithium is a chemical element that is believed to boost cell regeneration.

    In preparation for the large 2008 trial, which will involve 400 patients in 14 mainland Chinese cities, Hong Kong and Taipei, doctors in all three places recently agreed on the method to deliver stem cells into spinal cords, said Young, who is also a visiting professor at the University of Hong Kong.

    Stem cells extracted from matching umbilical cord blood taken from public blood banks will be injected into the spinal cords of the subjects, who will also be given lithium.

    The procedure should hopefully help subjects grow new nerve fibres and "bridges" -- structures that allow the new fibres to reconnect with other parts of the spinal cord.

    "Our main outcome measure will be neurological motor and sensory scores," Young said in an interview with selected media. "We want to see whether the patients recover sensation. It has three measures: touch, pain which is assessed by pin-prick, and the third is strength of 10 standardised muscles."

    STEM CELL GIANT?

    The trial, the biggest in the field in Asia, comes as China is devoting significant resources into stem cell research.

    Its attitude and achievements have drawn U.S.-based scientists like Young to conduct research there due to opposition to embryonic stem cell research in the United States.

    Opponents of embryonic stem cell research, including President George W. Bush, say it is unethical to experiment on human embryos, even those never destined to become a baby.

    Stem cells are the body's master cells, found throughout the tissue and blood. Whether from the adult or from embryos, they may be used to find treatments and cures for serious diseases such as cancer and diabetes.

    Embryonic stem cells are considered potentially the most powerful but are also the most controversial, and federal law greatly restricts the use of taxpayer money to pay for experiments using them.

    "Scientists in the U.S. are so upset at the stopping of (embryonic) stem cell research, but this would be a great opportunity for Asia, great opportunity for China ... because there are so many researchers working in this field," Young said, adding that Hong Kong had a special position in all of this.

    "Hong Kong is in a special position for science because it has credibility. Many people don't trust what is going on inside China," he said, noting also that Hong Kong badly needed government support and funding.

    Private donors are funding the US$26 million spinal cord clinical trial.

    Source: Reuters AlertNet © Reuters Foundation 2007 (08/03/07)

    Branson Launches Stem Cell Venture
    Virgin boss Richard Branson is to launch a new hi-tech venture to collect stem cells from newborn babies. Parents will be charged a fee for storing the cells, which could one day be used to cure leukaemia and other diseases, . Some people, like multiple sclerosis patient Claudia Harrison, have already started to take advantage of the technology.

    When her son was born she wanted him to be able to take advantage of future medical advances, should he ever need them.

    Stem cells from his umbilical cord have been deep-frozen, in case he develops leukaemia, or a degenerative disease such as Parkinsons.

    It is hoped that in future doctors will be able to use the cells, which can reproduce many other types of cell in the body, to treat diseases that currently have no cure.

    Richard Branson's Virgin Group will offer a stem cell freezing service at a cost of at least £1,300 a time. So far, around 11,000 parents have signed up.

    However, the scheme has already come under fire from health professionals.

    Midwives say they do not have time to drain stem cells from the umbilical cord - they are already stretched ensuring the safety of mothers and their babies.

    Other experts are also uncomfortable about the service only being available to those who can afford to pay.

    In France and Italy, private stem cell storage is illegal.

    Most of the placentas from the 600,000 babies born each year in the UK are discarded as waste.

    Some scientists say it is now time to wake up to their potential for curing diseases in future.

    Source: Yahoo! News Copyright © 2007 Yahoo! UK Limited. All rights reserved. (01/02/07)

    Pluristem Announces Evidence That PLX-I Cells Are Immune Privileged
    Pluristem Life Systems, Inc. a cell therapy company dedicated to the commercialisation of stem cell products, today announced evidence that its PLX-I cells have proven to be immune privileged. PLX-I cells are Pluristem’s first potential product dedicated to resolving the global shortfall of matched tissue for bone marrow transplantation by improving the engraftment of umbilical cord blood. PLX-I cells are mesenchymal stems cells obtained from the placenta and expanded by using Pluristem’s proprietary 3D PluriX™ technology.

    Immune privileged is defined as the absence or diminution of rejection when implanted into unmatched recipients. Being immune privileged, the PLX-1 cells carry significant positive implications in the development of Company products for a variety of degenerative, malignant and immune diseases. Additionally, this immune modulating property could prove important in treating or preventing immune reactions associated with transplantation.

    Ora Burger PhD. V.P. of R&D at Pluristem states: "Our PLX-I cells possess immune privileged characteristics that can be used in the future for other applications involving transplantations. PLX-I cells posses these immune privileged characteristics without carrying the associated social stigmata of embryonic stem cells because PLX-I cells come from the placenta.”

    William R. Prather RPh, MD, Sr. V.P. Corporate Development notes: “Mesenchymal stem cells can differentiate into a range of different tissues types associated with the musculoskeletal system such as bone, cartilage, fat, muscle, tendon and ligament. Consequently, mesenchymal stem cells are considered to be multipotent. Additionally, some reports provide evidence of these cells plasticity or the ability of mesenchymal stem cells to traverse tissue boundaries and give rise to cells of a different non-musculoskeletal tissue, such as brain or liver cells. If this is the case, mesenchymal stem cells may be used to help treat a broad range of tissues affected by damage or disease. Allogeneic transplantation of mesenchymal stem cells between different individuals may also be possible as these cells appear to be immune privileged in that they are not necessarily rejected when implanted into unmatched recipients. The characteristic of these cells being immune privileged may enable Pluristem to be involved with new clinical applications with PLX-I.”

    Source: Pluristem Life Systems(29/01/07)

    Scientists Celebrate Stem Cell Business Success
    British scientists are embarking on a major international stem cell business collaboration, which will bring them a step closer to developing new patient therapies.

    A team of stem cell researchers, based at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, has formed a partnership with a major American stem cell company which is going to invest £160,000 in their work.

    The team, led by Colin McGuckin, Professor of Regenerative Medicine at the University, will use the funding to further its world-leading research using stem cells obtained from babies' umbilical cords.

    The team is working towards developing new therapies for patients with a range of liver complaints that could be used in hospitals within five years.

    At the same time, the team is developing and testing new tools for drug development that could be available for companies to buy in several years time.

    The funding will also pay for an additional researcher and for a research nurse who will work with new parents at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle to encourage them to donate their baby's umbilical cords to the group which is based there.

    Having a good supply of cord blood is crucial for the research programme, so the nurse will explain to the baby's parents about the importance of contributing to the cord blood research.

    The University researchers are also due to help the American company, called BioE, to test and develop new products that aim to improve the storage of cord blood.

    Prof McGuckin's team, which is based at UK Centre for Cord Blood at Newcastle University and which is a key part of the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine was the first in the world to produce embryonic-like stem cells from cord blood.

    Stem Cells have the potential to develop into any tissue type in the body and could therefore be used to develop a wide range of medical therapies.

    Prof McGuckin said: “This partnership marks a major boost for North East England. It fits closely with goals for a Newcastle Science City because regional leaders are promoting active relationships between the public sector and biotechnology industry as a key element of this.

    “Our research indicates that cord blood has an amazing capacity to develop into a wide range of human tissues including blood, blood vessel, liver and nervous tissues.

    “This research could have a huge impact not only on treating human disease, but also provide human tissues for drug development and testing, removing the uncertainty of whether new drugs will have side effects.”

    Dr Nicolas Forraz, clinical sciences business manager at Newcastle University and senior research associate in Prof McGuckin's group, also welcomed the partnership deal, adding: “This joint work with BioE is the first successful international stem cell commercial collaboration at Newcastle University and the United Kingdom advancing development of cord blood stem cells from the bench to clinical applications.”

    BioE, whose headquarters are based in the US state of Minnesota, is a biomedical company providing human cord blood stem cells for drug discovery and therapeutic research.

    Mr Michael Haider, president and chief executive officer for BioE, commented: “Newcastle University is an extremely valuable partner for us given the wealth of technical and clinical resources it can offer BioE as we continue to identify and solidify business opportunities internationally.”

    Dr Caroline Gladwell, healthcare innovation manager at the regional development agency for North East England, One NorthEast, said: "Our investment in the Stem Cell Institute was to provide the region with the tools and the ability to attract and enter into international collaborations of this nature. We are delighted that the Institute has achieved its first international business collaboration. This will be the first of many.”

    Background notes:

    The Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine (ISCBRM): This draws together Durham and Newcastle Universities, the Newcastle-upon-Tyne Hospitals NHS Trust and other partners in a unique interdisciplinary collaboration to convert stem cell research and technologies into cost-effective, ethically-robust 21st century health solutions to ameliorate degenerative diseases, the effects of ageing and serious injury. The Institute has received substantial funding and other support from One NorthEast. See: http://www.iscbrm.org/ 

    BioE:

    Headquartered in St. Paul, Minnesota, BioE is a biomedical company providing human cord blood stem cells as enabling, high-quality cellular tools for drug discovery and therapeutic research. The company's novel Multi-Lineage Progenitor Cell™ (MLPC™) - derived from human umbilical cord blood and obtained using PrepaCyte®, the company's proprietary cell isolation platform - provides clinicians and researchers a flexible, long-term and non-controversial tool for therapeutic research and drug discovery and screening. BioE is privately owned and was founded in 1993. For more information about the company, please visit http://www.bioe.com 

    UNIVERSITY OF NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE
    Newcastle upon Tyne
    NE1 7RU

    http://www.ncl.ac.uk

    Source: Medical News Today © 2006 MediLexicon International Ltd (01/06/06) 

    Aldagen's Product Used to Isolate Stem Cells from Cord Blood in Human Clinical Study; Initial Safety Demonstrated in Clinical Study at Duke University Medical School
    Aldagen, Inc. today announced that clinicians at Duke University Medical School have used its ALDESORT product to isolate stem cells from cord blood and safely infused these cells into patients. The on-going clinical study is led by Dr. Joanne Kurtzberg, the director of the Duke Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant Program and the Carolinas Cord Blood Bank, a public cord blood bank at Duke University Medical Center. Kurtzberg's team has performed 650 cord blood transplants in children -- more than any other center in the world. In recent years, Kurtzberg has expanded cord blood's application to treat a wide range of genetic diseases, like Krabbe Disease and Hurler Syndrome, which cause progressive physical and cognitive deficits leading to death in early childhood.

    ALDESORT isolates a unique population of stem cells from cord blood that are capable of contributing to neutrophil and platelet engraftment and immune reconstitution. The ultimate aim of the clinical study is to determine the feasibility of priming this unique population of stem cells with growth factors to improve the speed and efficacy of cord blood transplantation in the pediatric setting.

    "Cord blood is a source of life-saving stem cells to treat a range of fatal diseases for which no other cure exists," says Dr. Joanne Kurtzberg, who pioneered the use of umbilical cord blood in 1993 as a cure for fatal childhood cancers and genetic diseases.

    "This is an important milestone for Aldagen as it represents the first clinical use of our ALDESORT product for the isolation of stem cells," added Ed Field, President and CEO of Aldagen. "The product has performed well and the isolated cells have been safely infused into patients. Ultimately, stem cells isolated from cord blood by ALDESORT could be used as an "off-the-shelf" therapy for certain tissue repair and regeneration applications."

    About Aldagen, Inc.

    Aldagen's proprietary products identify and isolate unique populations of adult stem cells with the potential to revolutionize treatments of cardiovascular disease and degenerative diseases. The Company is testing its ALDESORT product in a clinical trial at Texas Heart Institute to treat ischemic heart failure patients in addition to the cord blood transplantation study at Duke University Medical Center. To learn more about Aldagen's products for preparing optimal cell populations for adult stem cell therapy, the Company invites you to visit its website at http://www.aldagen.com.

    Souce: Aldagen Press Release (22/03/06)

    Scientists find new cord blood stem cells
    University of Minnesota Medical School scientists have discovered new cord blood stem cells that might lead to regenerating nerve tissue after a stroke.

    The researchers say the new population of cells identified in human umbilical cord blood have properties of primitive stem cells.

    Umbilical cord blood is generally known to contain hematopoietic stem cells that can only produce cells found in blood. The new findings, however, identify a small population of cord blood cells with the characteristics of more primitive stem cells that have the potential to produce a greater variety of cell types.

    "We are excited by this discovery because it provides additional insight into how stem cells can restore function in the brain after injury," said Walter Low, senior investigator of the study and professor of neurosurgery.

    The research appears in the latest issue of the journal Stem Cells and Development.

    Source: United Press International © Copyright 2006 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved (13/02/06)

    For families who want to try to safeguard their baby's future, the latest thing is a £1,500 set of stem cells. 

    Put away the booties and babygros: the ultimate gift for a new-born baby is a £1,500 set of stem cells that could save them from illness. Hundreds of parents and grandparents have bought the unusual medical insurance for children, hoping it will provide them with "spare parts" later in life.

    The technique involves extracting stem cells from the umbilical cord, which could develop specialised tissue to treat illnesses including strokes, cancers, Alzheimer's and leukaemia, as well as to regrow body parts. The cells are then frozen in vials and banked for up to 25 years.

    "It might just save a child's life," said Shamshad Ahmed, manager of London's cord blood bank, Smart Cells.

    A growing number of such blood banks have sprung up across Britain, in line with the trend's soaring popularity in the United States. Companies offering them include UK Cord Blood Bank, Future Health, Cells4Life UK and Cells.

    For full article please click on the link above (23/01/06)

    Ataxia sufferer's stem cell hope
    A woman is thought to be the first person in the world to be undergoing stem cell treatment for a rare neurological condition.

    Angie McDonald, 32, of Oxton, Merseyside, is travelling to the Netherlands to undergo the procedure to combat Friedreich's Ataxia.

    The condition is caused by a faulty gene which affects her balance, co-ordination and speech.

    She is undergoing the treatment abroad as it is not available on the NHS.

    The technique involves injecting stem cells from the umbilical cords of healthy full-term babies into her bloodstream and the base of her skull.

    It has had some success with multiple sclerosis sufferers but Ms McDonald is thought to be the first Friedreich's Ataxia sufferer to undergo the treatment, which is offered by the PMC clinic in Rotterdam.

    "They've given me a reduced price because I'll be the first person in the world - I'll be a guinea pig," she said.

    "I'd just like to be able to walk again on my own, I'd like to wear high heels again.

    "I want to go travelling and see the world rather than count on people to get me things and take me places.

    "If it works it will be wonderful, it would be the best Christmas present anyone can ask for but if it doesn't I'll just go back to being happy and enjoying my life."

    The fee for her treatment, which has not been disclosed, was paid for by a series of fundraising events organised by Ms McDonald's friends and family.

    Source: BBC News Online (23/01/06)

     

    President signs H.R. 2520 into law, funding stem cell research of umbilical cord blood
    President Bush signed into law Dec. 20 a bill to underwrite stem cell research that does not harm donors.

    The Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Act, H.R. 2520, provides federal funds for the collection, testing and storage of stem cells from umbilical cord blood. It authorizes $79 million for work on cord blood stem cells and will establish a network for doctors and patients to access in an effort to find matches.

    Research using stem cells from cord blood is harmless, unlike embryonic stem cell experimentation, which requires the destruction of human embryos.

    Southern Baptist public policy specialist Barrett Duke called the bill signing a “marvelous early Christmas present.”

    “Today marked a great moment in our effort to support the sanctity of human life,” Duke told Baptist Press after attending the signing ceremony in the White House’s Roosevelt Room. He is vice present for public policy and research of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. “While scientists are still trying to find a way to put embryo destructive stem cell research to work, adult stem cell research is already bringing hope and healing to the suffering.

    “I look forward to hearing in the years to come of the many people who will be helped because these stem cell cord blood banks have been made possible.”

    Bush signed the bill only three days after Congress gave its final approval.

    The House of Representatives had passed the legislation with a 431-1 vote in May, but some senators had balked at its approval. On Dec. 15, Sen. Tom Harkin, D.-Iowa, blocked a unanimous consent agreement to the legislation, because Majority Leader Bill Frist would not set a date for a vote on a bill funding embryonic stem cell research.

    The Senate, however, approved the cord blood bill by unanimous consent the next day when Harkin dropped his hold on the measure. Because the Senate’s version differed slightly from the House-approved measure, the bill returned to the House, where it was approved in a 413-0 vote Dec. 17.

    “All who treasure life, both unborn and born, should applaud the passage of this bill,” ERLC President Richard Land told BP after the congressional action.

    Umbilical cords, which typically are thrown away by hospitals after birth, are a prime source –- along with placentas, bone marrow and fat -– of non-embryonic stem cells, which have provided therapies for more than 65 ailments so far, according to Do No Harm, a coalition promoting ethics in research. These include spinal cord injuries, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, sickle cell anemia, heart damage and a variety of cancers.

    “Thousands of Americans who might have otherwise continued to suffer or died will now be saved because larger and diverse inventories of umbilical cord stem cells will be available,” said Rep. Christopher Smith, R.-N.J., the bill’s sponsor. “Not only has God in His infinite wisdom and goodness created the placenta and umbilical cord to nurture and protect the precious life of an unborn child, but now we know that another gift awaits us immediately after birth. Something very special is left behind -– cord blood that is rich with stem cells.”

    Duke said, “I commend the House and Senate for their nonpartisan passage of this bill, and I commend the president and his administration for their unflagging commitment to life. May the Lord grant us many more successes for life in the coming year.”

    Embryonic stem cell research has failed to produce any successful therapies in human beings and has been plagued by the development of tumors in lab animals. In such research, embryos in normally the first week of life are destroyed when stem cells are extracted from them. Privately funded research on embryonic stem cells is ongoing in the United States.

    Stem cells are the body's master cells that can develop into other cells and tissues, providing hope for the treatment of numerous afflictions.

    The new law also provides $186 million for the reauthorization of the national bone marrow transplant system.

    The ERLC and other pro-life organizations oppose embryonic stem cell research because of its destructive nature, but they support research on stem cells from non-embryonic sources.

    In October, Sen. Arlen Specter, R.-Pa., sponsor of a Harkin-backed bill to permit federal grants for research on embryos stored at in vitro fertilization clinics, announced Frist had promised to bring the measure up early in 2006, though a Frist spokesman said the majority leader had not made a final commitment.

    The Specter bill would liberalize Bush’s policy, which bars federal funds for stem cell research that destroys embryos but permits grants for embryonic stem cell lines in existence when he announced his policy in 2001.

    Source: www.brnews.net Copyright (c) 2001 - 2005 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press (23/01/06)

    Could a stem cell bank save your child?
    Parents in Cambridge could soon be given the chance to store potentially life-saving stem cells taken from the umbilical cord of their newborn baby.

    The Rosie Hospital, at Addenbrooke's, plans to introduce the groundbreaking scheme in the next two years.

    Stem cells are the "building blocks" for every type of cell in the body, capable of maturing into any tissue type including pancreas, blood or cells in the nervous system.

    Stem cell research is already used to treat leukeamia and could potentially lead to cures for diabetes, cancers, heart and blood diseases, Parkinson's, multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer's diseases.

    If established, the service would be a commercial venture run by the British Stem Cell Registry (BSCR) and would give parents the chance to pay to store the cells in case they are needed to treat illnesses later in their child's life.

    The BSCR is currently conducting a six to eight month study into the scheme.

    It wants to find out how much parents know about the potential of umbilical stem cells - known as adult stem cells - to treat disease, whether they would like their baby's stem cells to be harvested and stored, and how much they would be prepared to pay for the service.

    Practical trials are also underway to investigate how blood from the umbilical cord can be best taken without interfering with the delivery process.

    Dr Lidia Duncan, managing director of the BSCR, said: "The aim of the study is the development of services and technologies for the provision of transplantation of quality stem cells.

    "It will also evaluate how BSCR Ltd can work alongside an NHS trust in informing parents of the potential benefits of umbilical cord blood stem cell collection and storage."

    Stem cells have the potential to develop into different types of tissue and are believed to offer the hope of a cure for many diseases.

    They are used in leukaemia treatment through bone marrow transplants and trials are underway to explore other uses such as the treatment of heart disease.

    It is not yet known how much the Addenbrooke's service will cost.

    Some private companies already offer cord blood collection to create a store of cells for use later in life and prices vary from hundreds of pounds up to £1,500.

    The National Blood Service also takes cord blood from some babies which is stored in the national Cord Blood Bank and used for transplantation in the same way as the Bone Marrow Reister.

    Although the use of cord blood stem cells in transplantation is not new, the Rosie trial is believed to be unique in looking to develop a relationship between an NHS foundation hospital and a private company, making stem cell storage available to more parents.

    If the trial is a success a commercial service could be launched within two years.

    Harvesting stem cells from cord blood is different to the controversial procedure of growing embryos purely for their stem cells.

    Dr Duncan said: "Adult stem cell storage for future use in transplantation provides an ethical alternative to the use of embryonic stem cells."

    A spokeswoman for Addenbrooke's said the hospital was awaiting the results of the pilot study. (23/01/06)

    © Multiple Sclerosis Resource Centre

    Related Items
    Adult Stem Cells
    Embryonic Stem Cells
    General Stem Cell Research Archive - 2005 - 2006
    Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (IPS)
    Neural Stem Cells
    Placental Implant Stem Cell Technology


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