In 2019, the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion made July Cord Blood Awareness Month. At CellSave, we strive to be at the centre of stem cell technology, working with the medical community to provide ongoing support for innovative stem cell treatments.
Over the past 20 years, we have successfully collected and preserved stem cells from over 80 countries across six continents, storing samples from more than 350,000 children. This month, we look at some of the latest information about the role of stem cells in medical treatment today.
The umbilical cord is one of the richest sources of stem cells, and understanding about its potential has increased significantly in the past few years. Umbilical cord stem cells are now involved in treating over 100 diseases globally, including certain cancers and blood disorders. The industry report Global Stem Cells Market: Focus on Clinical Therapies, 2020 – 2030 also highlights their role in more common clinical conditions, acknowledging that “stem cell therapies are viable alternatives to conventional treatments with substantial therapeutic potential.” Indeed, more stem cell-based therapies are being approved to treat things like autism, cerebral palsy, hearing loss, heart defects, and diabetes, as well as in the field of regenerative and transplant medicine.
Clinical studies and trials
According to the Global Stem Cell Market Report from Mordor Intelligence, there is a notable increase in the number of clinical trials for cord blood’s future treatment possibilities. Over 200 National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded clinical trials with cord blood are currently being conducted in the United States alone.
A recent study published in NPJ Regenerative Medicine found that stem cells can restore heart health and repair damage after a heart attack. “85% of all cellular functional categories affected by disease responded favourably to treatment,” says Andre Terzic, M.D., Ph.D., director of Mayo Clinic’s Center for Regenerative Medicine.
A number of trials have been conducted that show the benefit of using stem cells in the treatment of cerebral palsy.
Duke launched their first autism clinical trial in 2014 treating children with their own cord blood and there was marked improvement on several measurement scales.
On May 14, 2020, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the start of a phase 1/2a trial assessing the use of umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells for treating patients with severe COVID-19.
You can read Olga and her son Maksim’s story of treating autism with stem cells on Parent’s Guide to Cord Blood. Here Olga talks about the amazing results within weeks of Maksim receiving a stem cell treatment with his own stem cells.
Spina bifida is a birth defect that occurs when the spine and spinal cord don’t form properly. Also on Parent’s Guide to Cord Blood, Emma’s parents talk about the success of spinal surgery carried out straight after birth and the role of intravenous infusions of autologous cord blood to treat spina bifida.
In 2017, a family from Abu Dhabi requested the release of cord blood stem cells stored with CellSave. The stem cells from their son Abdullah were used in a stem cell transplant for his older brother Hamad who suffered from sickle cell anemia. The transplant, which took place in the United States, was successful and signs of Hamad’s condition were reversed.
Stem cell storage is one of the most rapidly developing areas of medical research. There are now five different options available under the stem cell storage umbrella, the newest being amnion placental tissue. Read about the options and each of their benefits here.