The use of the umbilical cord blood stem cells
The use of the umbilical cord blood stem cells
ХХth century was marked in the history of medicine by the stormy development of the pharmaceutical industry. Buying an antibiotic or analgetic remedy in the chemists, we do not ever think that the banal penicillin was discovered only in 1928 (till that time the lung inflammation took millions of life, saying nothing of purulent wounds and military injuries), only in 1943 Zalman Vaxman discovered the first antituberculous drug streptomycin, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize, the first antitumor drug was registered only in 1946, and in 1952 the first neuroleptic was created, giving the right for the quality of life for the earlier doomed people with mental disieases
But the capabilities of the pharmaceutical drugs are not infinite, and in the struggle with diabetes mellitus, cerebral palsy, the consequences of insult, myocardial infarction, AIDS and most of the oncologic diseases the scientists are forced to look for new, more effective remedies.
Today the hopes of scientists for the victory above incurable diseases are connected with the huge regenerative potential of the stem cells. That is why in the ХХIst century one may challengingly say that the period of cell medicine came.
Stem cells – are the undifferentiated (immature) cells, capable to selfrenewal, producing both new stem cells and differentiation into the specialized cells of different tissues and organs.
Actually the stem cells are used both in commonly acepted protocol schemes of treatment of such diseases as leukemias, some solid tumors, aplastic anaemias, inborn alterations of the metabolism and in the clinical trials for the treatment of cardiovascular, neurologic and autoimmune diseases, in traumatology and orthopedics, reproductology and reconstructive surgery.
In 2010 the sensational message flew around the world that the German scientists with the help of stem cells cured the patients from AIDS. And in 2012 the scientists Sinja Jamanaka (Japan) and John Gerdon (Great Britain ) were awarded the Nobel Prize for the studies in the field of stem cells.
The scientists explain the mechanism of the regenerative action of stem cells both by their capability to transform into the cells of blood, liver, myocardium, bones, cartilages or nervous tissue and to regulate the functional activity of the other cells (by so called paracrine type) in the way of the production of different growth factors.
The umbilical cord blood, placenta, umbilical cord tissue, amniotic fluid, adipose tissue, milk teeth pulp are supposed to be the richest sources of stem cells.
The bone marrow has been used in cell therapy for the longest period of time. The first publication on the bone marrow transplantation is dated 1957 and till 2010 this method saved thousands of patients, suffering from leukemias. Almost in all countries of the world the specialised centres of the hematopoietic stem cells transplantation were created. But despite that many forms of leukemias may be successfully cured by the bone marrow transplantation, the majority of patients, first of all in the developing countries, continue to die. This is because of the impossibility to find the immunologically matching bone marrow donor, especially if the patient is indicated an urgent hematopoietic stem cells transplantation.
That is why during the last 20 years the umbilical cord blood is more and more frequently used as the bone marrow alternative, sometimes more effective. In 2006 the European Association for Bone Marrow Transplantation (EBMT) announced the umbilical cord blood to be equal the bone marrow.
Today more than 30 000 umbilical cord blood transplantations were perfomed in the world and the cord blood banks became the inherent part of the health service of the many world countries. In most countries two types of the cord blood banks are operated: autologous banks (own stem cells) and public (donor). The parents at the birth of a child have a choice: to preserve the baby’s cord blood in the autologous bank, at that the baby will be provided for 100% with own margin of stem cells or to donate it to the state to the public (donor) bank, in which in the case of necessity the donor material may be selected. The cost of the umbilical cord blood sample from the public bank (about 18 000 euro) in the developed countries of the world is covered by the insuring companies as most of the upgrown patients do not have the margin of the own umbilical cord blood stem cells. In Ukraine the situation is different – there are no public banks. The parents may preserve the umbilical cord blood of their baby in the autologous bank or in the case of necessity to search for the donor material abroad.
Apart from the treatment of oncologic and aplastic diseases of blood, the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which accurately checks
the safety of the innovational medicinal products and procedures, approved the clinical studies with the use of the umbilical cord blood for the treatment of:
- Diabetes mellitus type 1;
- Cerebral palsy;
- Traumatic brain injury.
There is also data about the effectiveness of the umbilical cord blood in the treatment of:
- Bronchopulmonal dysplasia in newborns,
- Insult consequences,
- Parkinson’s disease,
- Alzheimer’s disease,
- Heart diseases (myocardial infarction, cardiomyopathy),
- Lower limbs ischemia,
- Liver cirhosis,
- Rheumatoid arthritis,
- Spinal cord injuries,
- For the stimulation of wound healing and intergrowth of the bone fractures.
Considering the high capability of the umbilical cord blood stem cells to multiplication and directed differentiation, the umbilical cord blood rightly is supposed to be an ideal biological material for the purposes of the tissue engineering – the creation of the bioimplants of vessels, heart valves, bone-cartilaginous plastics.
The Institute of Cell therapy in Ukraine also accumulated the significant experience of the successful application of the umbilical cord blood in the treatment of pancreonecrosis, lower limbs ischemia, diabetes mellitus. The active studies on the cultivation of the umbilical cord blood and placenta stem cells are also conducted as well as on their transformation into the functional cells of the various tissues and organs.
In 2012 the Ministry of Health of Ukraine approved the methods of pancreonecrosis and critical lower limbs ischemia treatment by the stem cells based drugs Pancrostem ® and Angiostem ®, created by the biotechnological laboratory of the Institute of Cell Therapy.
The high therapeutic efficacy of the stem cells and active development of the biotechnologies give foundation to make a prognosis that cell medicine, which today is considered to be a highlyscientific and extracomplicated therapeutical approach in future will become the routine treatment of choice. And it is quite possible that in 20-30 years, the endocrinologist, having diagnosed diabetes mellitus will administer the patient not insulin but the implantation of the culture of own stem cells, transformed into the beta-cells of the pancreas; and cardiologist, having evaluated the coronary heart disease, will direct his patient not to the operation of aortocoronary bypass but will administer the infusion of the active endotheliocytes, capable to give growth to the new heart vessels.
It depends from your decision whether the umbilical cord blood and placenta will be exposed to utilization in the delivery-room or your child will receive a unique “biological insurance” for his long and healthy life.