cord blood stem cells types

Research in the last few years has shown that umbilical cord blood contains stem cells that can repair and regenerate damaged or diseased tissues. Stem cells from cord blood have the ability to transform into other tissues and can cure diseases that are difficult to be treated through other therapies.

Cord blood contains many types of stem cells. Each has its unique molecular and cellular properties and therefore each type of stem cell is used to cure different types of diseases. Here are the 3 main types of stem cell found in the cord blood:

Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) ─ These stem cells form blood and immune cells. They renew blood and produce new blood cells daily. Umbilical cord blood contains HSCs and has antigens like CD133, CD34 and CD45. HSCs from cord blood are more suitable for transplantation in children. Also HSCs have lower Graft versus Host Disease (GvHD) complications where the donor cells attack the tissues of the recipient. HSCs from cord blood are multi-potent and have plasticity which means they have the ability to form into different types of stem cells. HSCs could treat blood diseases like:

  • Leukemia
  • Lymphoma
  • Hodgkin’s Disease
  • Multiple Myeloma

HSCs have the ability to self renew and are being studied to see their use in gene therapy. If successful they will be used to deliver genes to repair damaged cells. They are also being tried for auto immune diseases like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.

Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs) are a multi-potent stem cells and are similar to MSCs found in the bone marrow. However, unlike HSCs, MSCs do not generate blood cells. MSCs can maintain their multi-potency and they have an immense capacity for self renewal. They are easy to isolate and can be expanded in culture. Their rate of proliferation is much higher than that of bone marrow MSCs. All manner of clinical tests are being conducted which show that MSCs would be able to treat:

  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Heart Disease
  • Stroke
  • Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes
  • Liver and Kidney Failure
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Damaged Spinal Cord
  • Burns
  • Cartilage Injuries

The advantage of MSCs is that they have the ability to inhibit inflammation and they also secrete growth factors that help tissue repair. They can also differentiate into many cell types like bone cells, fat cells, cartilage and also neural cells. MSCs are increasingly being used in regenerative medicine and could regenerate:

  • Muscle, Cartilage and Bone
  • Marrow
  • Adipose Tissue
  • Tendon/Ligament
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Connective Tissue

Very small embryonic-like (VSEL) stem cells are very small in size as the name suggests. They are non-hematopoietic stem cells and display the existence of some very rare cells which contain pluripotent stem cells. Clinical studies are going on but some scientists say that VSELs have the potential to be used for regenerative healing. VSELs could have the ability to regenerate:

  • Neural Cells
  • Cardiac Muscle
  • Blood Cells

The HSCs, MSCs and VSELs are just a few among many stem cell types that can be found in the umbilical cord blood. More cord blood stem cell clinical trials are being conducted which means that it is important to consider saving your baby’s cord blood so you won’t miss out on the cord blood stem cells’ present and future medical benefits.

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