There are currently a number of scientific trials underway, investigating the medical properties of umbilical cord blood-derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs). Umbilical cord blood is a very convenient and non-controversial source of this type of stem cell. MSCs can also be found in the umbilical cord tissue itself and within the Wharton’s Jelly inside the umbilical cord.
Umbilical cord blood-derived mesenchymal stem cells may be useful in the treatment of many condition and diseases including:
- Heart disease
- Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
- Liver disease
- Serious wounds
- Spinal cord injury
- Cartilage repair
The ClinicalTrials.gov website provides a useful overview of the current medical trials that are examining the potential of MSCs. The website is maintained by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) and attempts to record all publicly and privately funded clinical trials from around the world.
Some of the trials currently listed on the website include:
- Clinical Study of Umbilical Cord Tissue Mesenchymal Stem Cells (UC-MSC) for Treatment of Osteoarthritis
- Umbilical Cord Tissue-derived MSCs for Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Allogeneic Umbilical Cord Mesenchymal Stem Cell Therapy for Autism
- Safety and Feasibility Study of Cell Therapy in Treatment of Spinal Cord Injury
Umbilical cords were commonly discarded as medical waste in previous years. Thanks to the work of the scientific and medical communities, many are now preserved for the powerful stem cells they contain. MSCs can also be derived from bone marrow, peripheral blood, adipose tissue and neonatal tissue. This great variety of sources has helped drive research into this form of stem cell.
The key benefit of using cord blood-derived MSCs is that they are a genetic match of the person they came from, removing the risk of rejection for autologous transplants. Stem cells from umbilical cord also contain less-mature cells making them less likely to trigger rejection.