2020 has been a remarkable year in terms of stem cell research, with several groundbreaking discoveries occurring throughout the year. This has included a number of successful clinical trials testing the use of newborn stem cells to treat previously incurable conditions. To help you understand the advancements that have occurred, here are the top 10 newborn stem cell breakthroughs to occur in 2020.
#1 – Cord blood successfully used to treat brain injuries
Researchers in the United States discovered that a rare cell contained within cord blood can help to treat traumatic brain injuries. The cell, called CD14+, moves to damaged areas in the brain and initiates cellular repair processes. Read more.
#2 – Cord blood might be able to reverse hearing loss
A team of scientists based in Florida believe that cord blood stem cells may be used to treat sensorineural hearing loss (SHL). SHL is a common form of hearing loss that is often caused by prolonged exposure to loud noise, viral infections or disease, and injury causing trauma to the brain. Study participants who received a transfusion of stem cells experienced an improvement in Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR). Read more.
#3 – Newborn Stem Cells May Be Useful For Treating Autism
An ongoing study being performed by researchers at Duke University suggests that cord blood stem cells may be able to help children with autism. The researchers have discovered that children with autism see noticeable improvements in their language and social skills after receiving multiple infusions of cord blood. Read more.
#4 – Umbilical Cord Blood Successfully Treats Rare Genetic Diseases
A team of researchers from the UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh successfully developed a ‘universal’ stem cell treatment for a several rare genetic illnesses. The illnesses that this treatment can cure include Hunter syndrome, sickle cell disease, Thalassemia, and Krabbe disease. Read more.
#5 – Umbilical Cord-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cell Therapy For COVID-19 Patients
The COVID-19 virus has caused a devastating pandemic, resulting in the deaths of almost 1.5 million people worldwide. Researchers have been rushing to develop a vaccine and new treatments for this virulent disease.
There are now several trials which indicate that cord blood stem cells may be able to improve the survival rate of patients with COVID-19. Researchers have discovered that the mesenchymal stem cells contained within cord blood can reduce the inflammation that causes life-threatening Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). Read more.
#6 – ‘More Effective’ Cord Blood Stem Cell Transplant for Blood Cancer Patients
Cord blood stem cells are often used to successfully treat cancer. The main challenge faced by doctors has been obtaining a cord blood sample large enough to treat the patient. A new study published in the journal Cell Stem Cell, suggests that this problem may be solved, with researchers discovering how to expand the size of cord blood stem cell samples. Read more.
#7 – Second Patient Cured of HIV Using Stem Cell Transplant Treatment
Researchers have confirmed that a cancer patient from Venezuela is the world’s second person to be cured of HIV after receiving a stem cell transplant. They have not been able to find any traces of the virus in the patient’s system in the last 30 months. Read more.
#8 – Protecting Pre-Term Babies from Brain Injury with Stem Cell Therapy
A group of scientists from the Hudson Institute have shown that umbilical cord stem cells can be used to protect pre-term babies from brain injuries. This study proves that stem cells have a neuroprotective capacity. Read more.
#9 – New Ways to Potentially Treat Weak and Brittle Bones Using Stem Cells
A paper published in the journal Stem Cells shared the details of a new stem cell procedure that could cure osteogenesis imperfecta and other degenerative bone diseases. The treatment has been tested successfully on mice. Read more.
#10 – 3D Printer Using Stem Cells to Heal Burn Wounds
Researchers from the University of Toronto and Sunnybrook Hospital successfully developed a 3D printer which can apply a “bioink” of mesenchymal stroma cells (MSCs) to burn patients. The stem cells successfully differentiated into skin cells, healing tissues and reducing scarring. Read more.
As you can see, there have been many incredible discoveries in 2020. With hundreds of other stem cell research projects underway, it is expected that the rate of discoveries will only increase in the future.