Studies Show Growing use of Stem Cell in Clinical Trials

It is well known that stem cells found in a newborn baby’s cord blood are rich in (hematopoietic) stem cells, which has been used to treat and cure over 80 different blood and immune disorders and cancers. But what about the stem cells from umbilical cord tissue?

Both cord blood and cord tissue are rich in what is generally known as Perinatal Stem Cells. Based on their origin, perinatal stem cells can be divided into three groups: stem cells from amniotic fluid, placenta and umbilical cord.

Umbilical Cord Tissue is rich in mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). These stem cells are found within the Wharton’s Jelly that fills the umbilical cord. MSCs are multipotent cells that can differentiate into almost any type of cell, tissue, or organ, such as bone, cartilage, muscle, nerve, and fat cells. These are valuable for their potential in orthopedic and cardiac therapies, as well as other therapies where the MSCs act to suppress inflammation and auto-immune reactions. MSCs can be retrieved from cord blood, “but with much lower efficiency than using other perinatal tissues (such as Cord Tissue) as a source of MSCs.”

Over the past decade, scientists have begun studying the use of MSCs in advanced stem cell therapies. A database of all clinical trials worldwide was compiled from 2005-2015 that used advanced stem cell therapies. Over that time, a total of 269 clinical trials were conducted, which shows that there are more advanced stem cell therapy clinical trials using Perinatal stem cells than there are using Cord Blood stem cells1.

Number of advanced cell therapy clinical trials per year

While cord blood is still an extremely valuable source of life-saving stem cells, scientists encourage public education programs to do more than simply promote cord blood banking, but to emphasize the importance and value of banking “newborn stem cells” found in Cord Tissue.

 This research was originally published by Verter, Couto & Bersenev, in the Jan 2017 newsletter of the Parent’s Guide to Cord Blood Foundation in an article called Growing Use of Newborn Stem Cells in Clinical Trials