The promise of cord blood research
Researchers are sometimes using donated cord blood to conduct extensive medical research (not all donations are used for research, each public program is different in this regard). The results have been striking — many specialists believe the potential of cord blood stem cells is limitless.
Perhaps the most promising area of research is regenerating damaged tissues and organs with cord blood. Regenerative medicine encompasses a number of innovative medical therapies that will enable the body to repair, replace, restore and regenerate damaged or diseased cells, tissues and organs. Cord blood stem cells are proving to have remarkable regenerative properties.
Currently, landmark trials are underway in regenerative medicine that are investigating treatments for diseases like juvenile diabetes and cerebral palsy using autologous transplants, or one’s own cord blood stem cells. Early results have been promising, and final results from these clinical trials are expected to generate more interest in cord blood stem cell treatments for a number of diseases.
Stem cells from a child’s own umbilical cord are expected to bring about improved outcomes for anoxic brain injury at birth, cerebral palsy, and traumatic brain injury. (Dr. Joanne Kurtzberg recently discussed breakthroughs in this area on our Share the Science series.)
Studies being conducted among children with this disease are finding improved insulin production through treatment with autologous transplants. (We are following clinical trials in this area closely. For example, learn about this study in Australia.)
Results from a 2005 study suggest the potential for cord blood stem cells to improve outcomes in human patients following heart attack. (We spoke with Dr. Curtis Cetrulo, Sr. about this and other innovative uses of cord blood, watch this fascinating interview here – specifically designed for parents!)
Cord blood stem cells could provide a future therapeutic option for individuals with disorders of the ocular surface, according to recent studies.
Other diseases and conditions cord blood stem cells have shown the potential to cure or treat are:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Muscular dystrophy
- Parkinson’s disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Spinal cord injury
- Liver disease