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Open Access Umbilical Cord Blood: A Trustworthy Source of Multipotent Stem Cells for Regenerative Medicine

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It is conservatively estimated that one in three individuals in the US might benefit from regenerative medicine therapy. However, the relation of embryonic stem cells (ESCs) to human blastocysts always stirs ethical, political, moral, and emotional debate over their use in research. Thus, for the reasonably foreseeable future, the march of regenerative medicine to the clinic will depend upon the development of non-ESC therapies. Current sources of non-ESCs easily available in large numbers can be found in the bone marrow, adipose tissue, and umbilical cord blood (UCB). UCB provides an immune-compatible source of stem cells for regenerative medicine. Owing to inconsistent results, it is certainly an important and clinically relevant question whether UCB will prove to be therapeutically effective. This review will show that UCB contains multiple populations of multipotent stem cells, capable of giving rise to hematopoietic, epithelial, endothelial, and neural tissues both in vitro and in vivo. Here we raise the possibility that due to unique immunological properties of both the stem cell and non-stem cell components of cord blood, it may be possible to utilize allogeneic cells for regenerative applications without needing to influence or compromise the recipient immune system.

Keywords: Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs); Multipotent stem cells; Regenerative medicine; Umbilical cord blood (UCB)

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Division of Hematology and Oncology, Department of Pediatrics, Chang Gung Children’s Hospital, Chang Gung University, Taoyuan, Taiwan

Publication date: 2014-04-09

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  • Cell Transplantation publishes original, peer-reviewed research and review articles on the subject of cell transplantation and its application to human diseases. To ensure high-quality contributions from all areas of transplantation, separate section editors and editorial boards have been established. Articles deal with a wide range of topics including physiological, medical, preclinical, tissue engineering, and device-oriented aspects of transplantation of nervous system, endocrine, growth factor-secreting, bone marrow, epithelial, endothelial, and genetically engineered cells, among others. Basic clinical studies and immunological research papers are also featured. To provide complete coverage of this revolutionary field, Cell Transplantation will report on relevant technological advances, and ethical and regulatory considerations of cell transplants. Cell Transplantation is now an Open Access journal starting with volume 18 in 2009, and therefore there will be an inexpensive publication charge, which is dependent on the number of pages, in addition to the charge for color figures. This will allow work to be disseminated to a wider audience and also entitle the corresponding author to a free PDF, as well as prepublication of an unedited version of the manuscript.
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