Umbilical cord tissue as well as umbilical cord blood represents valuable source of adult stem cells. Contrary to the umbilical cord blood containing hematopoietic stem cells, umbilical cord tissue comprises another type of stem cells – mesenchymal stem cells. This kind of stem cells differs greatly in both its properties and a variety of conditions MSC can be used treating for.
For instance mesenchymal stem cells are able of differentiating into cells of different organs and tissues: skin cells, hepatocytes, heart cells etc (while hematopoietic stem cells are able to transform into immune and blood cells). Owing to this property umbilical cord stem cells are widely researched in regenerative medicine and used for treating burns, injures, Cron`s disease, cirrhosis, heart attacks etc. Umbilical cord stem cells are used for organ reconstruction as they replace damaged and necrotized organtissue cells.
Another property of mesenchymal stem cells is their ability to strengthen body`s own immune system that led scientists towards research of MSC in treatment for different conditions such as diabetes. Moreover, mesenchymal stem cells represent perfect source of stem cells for bioengineering. First steps towards creating and transplanting new organs made of stem cells have already been made. Trachea, nose, heart valves, skin and bones have been successfully recreated and transplanted to first patients.
Regenerative potential of mesenchymal stem cells is actually so big, that the total number of researches and clinical trials using this type of cells in regenerative medicine has grown twice in 2014.
Not also umbilical cord tissue contains mesenchymal stem cells but also adult bone marrow and fat tissue. However umbilical cord stem cells have a range of advantages over other cell resources.
Umbilical cord tissue stem cells are young and active in comparison with stem cells from other sources, which means they are more effective in treatment.
Umbilical cord tissue collecting is safe and simple process that takes place right after birth – on umbilical cord being cut and cord blood being collected. Stem cells extraction does not involve any surgical intervention and risk-free for donor`s health and life.
Opposite to umbilical cord blood stem cells, umbilical cord stem cells lack the factors responsible for immune rejection thus they will more likely match all the family members.
In case of treatment using large amounts of haematopoietic stem cells of umbilical cord blood, umbilical cord stem cells can be used as the feeding layer that contributes greatly in hematopoietic stem cells expansion.
HEMAFUND allows storing three umbilical cord components: intact umbilical cord fragment (for maximum mesenchymal stem cells extraction in the future), umbilical cord blood vessels containing endothelial progenitors (for medical treatment involving blood vessels reconstruction); processed umbilical cord tissue sample ready for fast stem cell extraction and cultivating in case of emergency.
This biomaterial is under study in all biobanks of the world where cord tissue is stored. The results of therapeutic potential of umbilical cord tissue stem cells research is published in the prestigious international journal "Stem Cells International". Co-authors of the study are Olga Maslova, deputy director of the Family cord blood bank Hemafund, Miroslav Novak and Peter Kruzliak from International Clinical Research Center, St. Anne’s University Hospital and Masaryk University, Pekarska 53, 656 91 Brno, Czech Republic - http://www.hindawi.com/journals/sci/2015/150609/