July is Cord Blood Awareness Month! We’ve put together answers to some common questions about regenerative medicine and why newborn stem cell preservation is such a good investment in your family’s future health.
Spread your new knowledge by sharing this article!
What’s regenerative medicine? Why do I keep hearing so much about it?
Regenerative medicine is an area of science that aims to restore or establish normal function in the body. Put simply, it involves repairing damaged cells.
Newborn stem cells play a very important role in regenerative medicine. In fact, over 500 regenerative medicine clinical trials using newborn stem cells have already begun.1,2
Why newborn stem cells? Because they can migrate to sites of injury, decreasing inflammation and helping heal damaged tissue.3
This is important because many of the diseases that affect both children and adults are believed to be related to inflammation of the immune system.
We see a future where newborn stem cells can be used in new approaches for things like gene therapy and a reduction in organ or tissue damage caused by age, chronic disease, or trauma.4,5,6
Are newborn stem cells already being used?
Cord blood was discovered over thirty years ago as a source of life-saving stem cells used to treat certain cancers and inherited disorders. This therapy relies on using partially or fully matched stem cells for a bone marrow transplant to cure a disease.
In general, the closer the match, the better the outcome. Depending on the condition being treated, a physician may look to use a child’s own stem cells or may prefer to use those from a related donor, like a sibling.
A cord blood transplant is still an important option for certain families. However, 80% of CBR clients who have used their cord blood have done so for regenerative medicine applications.
Do newborn stem cells stay good forever?
While no one can suspend time itself (yet!), cryopreservation can stop the clock on your newborn’s stem cells. Given all the information available today, it is believed that stem cells in proper cryogenic storage can be stored indefinitely.7
Is banking newborn stem cells a way to invest in my family’s future health?
As research continues, as methods of transplantation become more effective, and if and when more uses are discovered, your baby’s stem cells will not only retain their value today but will likely become more valuable over time.
Why? Because you’re banking on the advancement of an entire field of research and science.
For example, because of advancements in regenerative medicine, researchers are using newborn stems as the source material for advanced applications like immunotherapy, which aims to restore or improve how the immune system responds to disease.
Another example? Regulatory T cells from cord blood could be used to treat autoimmune conditions like Type 1 diabetes.8,9 Also, NK (natural killer) cells and CAR-T cells have anti-tumor effects, and could one day help treat cancer.10
There are already over 80 approved uses for cord blood stem cells for use in a stem cell transplant today. However, we believe that uses will increase in the area of regenerative medicine, especially since last year we saw cell therapies account for 20% of all regenerative medicine trials.
Why are newborn stem cells being studied for COVID-19-related conditions?
Because newborn stem cells can help regulate inflammation and stimulate tissue repair, they’re becoming relevant to treating respiratory symptoms due to acute lung injury, including damage from severe COVID-19.
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) found in cord tissue have been used successfully in many clinical trials for the treatment of lung conditions with encouraging results, long before the emergence of COVID-19.
Looking forward, these anti-inflammatory properties may have even more uses. Researchers believe that many diseases, particularly those associated with aging, are related to dysfunction in the immune system. Since newborn stem cell therapies may help these conditions, preserving cells now means you could benefit from advances in research later on!
How is CBR supporting COVID-19-related research efforts?
Advancing the science of newborn stem cells has always been central to our mission.
Before COVID-19, researchers showed that MSCs from cryopreserved cord tissue retain their anti-inflammatory and immune-modulating qualities.11-13 Importantly, these qualities may also be relevant to certain COVID-19 complications.
We’re happy to say that CBR is partnering with top research institutions to study how cord tissue MSCs might help treat the symptoms of COVID-19.
How do I preserve my baby’s stem cells with CBR?
It’s easy! Follow these 5 simple steps:
- Enroll with CBR online at cordblood.com/enroll, or call us at 1.888.240.1996.
Pro Tip: Use code: JUL1 for extra special savings when you enroll in July!*
- Wait for your collection kit (we’ll ship it to you).
- Bring your kit to the hospital or birthing center on your big day.
- Call the medical courier after your baby is born and your newborn’s stem cells have been collected by your healthcare professional.
- Let CBR handle the rest. We will notify you when your newborn’s stem cells are safely stored in their new home!
Questions? Give our specialists a call at 1.888.240.1996. And don’t forget to share this article with friends and family!
1. clinicaltrials.gov 2. Verter F, Couto PS, Bersenev A. A dozen years of clinical trials performing advanced cell therapy with perinatal cells. Future Sci OA. 2018;4(10):FSO351. doi:10.4155/fsoa-2018-0085 3. Citation: Meier C, Middlelanis J, Wasielewski B, et al. Spastic paresis after perinatal brain damage in rats is reduced by human cord blood mononuclear cells. Pediatr Res. 2006;59:244-249. 4. Couto PS, Bersenev A, Verter F. The first decade of advanced cell therapy clinical trials using perinatal cells (2005/2015). Regenerative Medicine. 2017;12(8):953-968. doi:10.2217/rme-2017-0066. 5. Williams DA, Moritz T. Umbilical cord blood stem cells as targets for genetic modification: new therapeutic approaches to somatic gene therapy. Blood cells. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7749118. Published 1994. Accessed March 9, 2020. 6. Chen HK, Hung HF, Shyu KG, et al. Combined cord blood stem cells and gene therapy enhances angiogenesis and improves cardiac performance in mouse after acute myocardial infarction. European journal of clinical investigation. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16269017. Published November 2005. Accessed March 9, 2020. 7. Broxmeyer HE, Lee MR, Hangoc G, et al. Hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells, generation of induced pluripotent stem cells, and isolation of endothelial progenitors from 21- to 23.5-year cryopreserved cord blood. Blood. 2011;117(18):4773-7. 8. Haller, M.J. et al. Autologous umbilical cord blood transfusion in young children with type 1 diabetes fails to preserve C-peptide. 2011 Diabetes Care 34, 2567–2569. 9. Haller, M.J. et al. Autologous umbilical cord blood infusion followed by oral docosahexaenoic acid and vitamin D supplementation for C-peptide preservation in children with Type 1 diabetes. 2013. Biol. Blood Marrow Transplant. 19, 1126–1129. 10. Herrera L, Santos S, Vesga MA, et al. Adult peripheral blood and umbilical cord blood NK cells are good sources for effective CAR therapy against CD19 positive leukemic cells. Sci Rep. 2019;9(18729). doi:10.1038/s41598-019-55239-y 11. Srivastava AK, Prabhakara KS, Kota DK, Bedi SS, Triolo F, Brown KS, et al. Human umbilical cord as a source of multiple potential therapeutics to treat experimental traumatic brain injury. Annual Meeting of the American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy 2018. 12. Sutton MT, Kaur S, Brown KS, Skiles ML, Folz MA, Caplan AI, et al. Anti-inflammatory therapeutic development and optimization of umbilical cord tissue derived mesenchymal stem cells. Journal of Stem Cell Research and Therapy n.d.;8:435. 13. Prabhakara, K, Caplan, H, Brown KS et al. Evaluating umbilical cord tissue-derived MSC populations for immunopotency using multiparametric non-radioactive lymphocyte proliferation assays. Presented at the International Society of Cellular Therapies.