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Regenerative therapy

In recent years, research in regenerative medicine is advancing and producing encouraging results.  In a report published in Cytotherapy in August 2005, it was suggested that “human cord blood (UCB)-derived multipotent stem cells improved sensory perception and movement in the SPI (spinal cord injury) patient's hips and thighs within 41 days of cell transplantation.” [1]  The case examined a 37-year-old female patient suffering from SPI who had received a transplant of HLA-matched cord blood-derived multipotent stem cells direct into the injured spinal cord site and the finding was most encouraging: “it is suggested that UCB multipotent stem cell transplantation could be a good treatment method for SPI patients.” [2]

In Feb 2006, the University of Minnesota Medical School announced they have discovered a new population of cells in human cord blood that have the properties of primitive stem cells.  In other words, these cells have the potential to produce a greater variety of cell types.  Laboratory research found that transplantation of these stem cells to rodents with experimental strokes resulted in “significant reduction in the size of the brain lesion.” [3]  The report also claimed “some of the transplanted stem cells developed into "neuron-like" cells that are typically found in the brain.” 

Treatment on Cerebral Palsy and Type 1 Diabetes
Recently, the world’s largest private cord blood bank Cord Blood Registry (CBR) collaborated with the Duke University in US to conduct research on stem cell therapy to treat Cerebral Palsy (CP). In the research, scientists observed significant improvement in CP patents; speech and motor abilities in a few weeks after an autologous cord blood transplant. [4]

In another research project in the US, Type 1 Diabetes patients were invited to undergo autologous cord blood transplant to treat their conditions. Results indicated that patients were able to maintain a normal blood glucose level without the intervention of insulin injection after the transplant. This outcome suggested possible migration of the infused stem cell to the pancreas and restore the β–cell function necessary to produce insulin for regulating patients’ blood glucose level. [5]

 

Footnotes:
[1] K-S Kang, SW Kim, YH Oh, JW Yu, K-Y Kim, HK Park, C-H Song and H Han (2005), “A 37-year-old spinal cord-injured female patient transplanted of multipotent stem cells from human UC blood, with improved sensory perception and mobility, both functionally and morphologically: a case study”, Cytotherapy  Vol. 7, No. 4, 368-373
[2] Ibid.
[3] “Researchers Identify New Cord Blood Stem Cell: Discovery Suggests Potential Treatment For Regenerating Nerve Tissue After Stroke”, press release issued by the University of Minnesota, 16 February 2006.
[4] David T. Harris, Stem Cell Rev (2008) 4:269-247
[5] Brusko T et al., Cell Biochem Biophys. 2007;48:165-175