The human umbilical cord is being increasingly recognized by the medical community for its potential in regenerative medicine and cellular therapies. Once discarded as medical waste, the umbilical cord contains valuable stem cells that are now at the forefront of medical research. Cord blood derived Hematopoietic Stem Cells (HSCS) are currently approved by the FDA and being used to treat over 80 diseases and cord tissue derived therapies have been approved in the European Union, Australia, and Canada.
What are Cord Blood Cells ?
Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) from cord blood are the precursors to all other types of blood cells and cellular components, with the potential to become red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, etc. These multipotent cells are a source of treatment and renewal for many blood disorders, immune system deficiencies, cancers, and tumors. Historically, HSCs have only been available from bone marrow and peripheral blood transplants. Today, HSCs from baby’s umbilical cord blood are considered to be far superior both medically and financially.
What Are Cord Tissue Cells?
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) from cord tissue are also multi-potent and can become many different types of cells, including cartilage, bone, fat, skin, and connective tissue. MSCs show promise in treating serious wounds, burns, diabetes, Autism, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, liver disease, stroke, and spinal cord injuries, to name a few. MSCs are especially unique because they can regenerate, allowing for multiple treatments. In addition, MSCs can give signals to other cells to start healing chronic wounds or to prevent harmful inflammation caused by autoimmune, immune-related, and neurodegenerative conditions such as Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and ALS. These versatile properties have the potential to make MSCs help us overcome some of the most difficult-to-treat medical conditions.
What Are Placental Tissue Cells?
The placenta also contains mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), but unlike cord tissue, these cells are a 100% genetic match to the mother. This stem cell source is currently used to treat burns, surgical wounds, eye conditions, and diabetic ulcers. Placental tissue is also showing promise in clinical trials for treating cerebral palsy, prostate cancer, throat cancer, heart conditions, neurological dysfunction, and kidney failure.
In addition to these stem cells, there are other medically valuable components in the cord blood, cord tissue, and placental tissue. These can also be extracted and used as raw materials to manufacture products for medical treatments and cosmetic uses.
What Are Exosomes?
The umbilical cord also contains exosomes, nanometer sized vesicles released by every cell in the body. Exosomes are thought to be a medium for cell communication and intercellular transport. They play an important role in the transmission of proteins, lipids, mRNAs, , and DNA. They play an important role in the treatment of diseases and are being studied as a targeted drug delivery system, carrying a specific drug to a specific cell or tissues2. The exosomes released by regenerative cells such as stem cells, are potent drivers of healing and repair. Umbilical cord derived exosomes have been found to activate several signaling pathways conducive in wound healing, cell growth, and collagen synthesis. Studies have also shown that these exosomes also contain growth factors associated with skin rejuvenation1.
What is Wharton’s Jelly?
Wharton’s jelly is the mucous connective tissue within the umbilical cord. It contains an abundance of precursor MSCs that ideally suited for use in cartilage repair. They have been shown to have the desired capacity for proliferation, differentiation, and release of trophic factors to provide cell-based cartilage restoration. Although allogeneic in nature, these cells stimulate little or no host immune response and can be stored for long periods while maintaining viability. Off-the-shelf treatment are in development to utilize these MSCs for cartilage repair in knees.
About Cord for Life®
Since 1993, Cord For Life® has been the expert in cord blood collection, processing, and storage. We were the first cord blood bank to accept both private storage and publicly donated cord blood collections from anywhere in the continental United States. Our team of scientists and cord blood banking professionals are leaders in the cord blood collection community who have helped clients around the world successfully launch and grow their organization’s cord blood collections. Our team members are passionate about our mission to Save Lives. Cord For Life® has released more units for transplant, research, and clinical trials than any other private bank and are unique in offering both private and public banking options.