Posted: Apr 20, 2012
A study published in the November 2011 issue of Critical Care Medicine demonstrated that mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) from human umbilical cord blood protect mice brains after trauma.
According to the study, mice were subjected to an induced traumatic brain injury. Twenty-four hours post-injury, mice were infused with human umbilical cord blood MSCs or a control solution of phosphate-buffered saline.
The stem cell transplantation resulted in early and long-lasting improvements in sensory, motor and learning functions in the treated mice, which were assessed by several standard tests. According to the investigators, the findings indicate that human umbilical cord blood MSCs stimulate the injured brain by promoting the survival, growth, and function of existing neurons, reducing inflammation, and diminishing the formation of scar tissue that inhibit brain remodeling, all of which lead to significant improvements of neurological outcomes.
This is an example of the kinds of research results that have led to the evaluation of umbilical cord blood as a new potential treatment option for brain injury and cerebral palsy in clinical trials. These first-of-their-kind FDA-regulated safety studies to investigate the use of a child’s own umbilical cord blood stem cells for traumatic brain injury and cerebral palsy in children launched in 2010 and 2011 and show the ongoing interest of researchers in these areas.