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Open Access Epithelial and Mesenchymal Stem Cells From the Umbilical Cord Lining Membrane

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Intense scientific research over the past two decades has yielded much knowledge about embryonic stem cells, mesenchymal stem cells from bone marrow, as well as epithelial stem cells from the skin and cornea. However, the billions of dollars spent in this research have not overcome the fundamental difficulties intrinsic to these stem cell strains related to ethics (embryonic stem cells), as well as to technical issues such as accessibility, ease of cell selection and cultivation, and expansion/mass production, while maintaining consistency of cell stemness (all of the stem cell strains already mentioned). Overcoming these technical hurdles has made stem cell technology expensive and any potential translational products unaffordable for most patients. Commercialization efforts have been rendered unfeasible by this high cost. Advanced biomedical research is on the rise in Asia, and new innovations have started to overcome these challenges. The Nobel Prize-winning Japanese development of iPSCs has effectively introduced a possible replacement for embryonic stem cells. For non-embryonic stem cells, cord lining stem cells (CLSCs) have overcome the preexisting difficulties inherent to mesenchymal stem cells from the bone marrow as well as epithelial stem cells from the skin and cornea, offering a realistic, practical, and affordable alternative for tissue repair and regeneration. This novel CLSC technology was developed in Singapore in 2004 and has 22 international patents granted to date, including those from the US and UK. CLSCs are derived from the umbilical cord outer lining membrane (usually regarded as medical waste) and is therefore free from ethical dilemmas related to its collection. The large quantity of umbilical cord lining membrane that can be collected translates to billions of stem cells that can be grown in primary stem cell culture and therefore very rapid and inexpensive cell cultivation and expansion for clinical translational therapies. Both mesenchymal and epithelial stem cells can be isolated from the umbilical cord lining membrane, usefully regenerating not only mesenchymal tissue, such as bone, cartilage, and cardiac and striated muscle, but also epithelial tissue, such as skin, cornea, and liver. Both mesenchymal and epithelial CLSCs are immune privileged and resist rejection. Clinically, CLSCs have proved effective in the treatment of difficult-to-heal human wounds, such as diabetic ulcers, recalcitrant chronic wounds, and even persistent epithelial defects of the cornea. Heart and liver regeneration has been shown to be successful in animal studies and await human trials. CLSCs have also been shown to be an effective feeder layer for cord blood hematopoietic stem cells and, more recently, has been recognized as an abundant and high-quality source of cells for iPSC production. Banking of CLSCs by cord blood banks in both private and public settings is now available in many countries, so that individuals may have their personal stores of CLSCs for future translational applications for both themselves and their families. Cord lining stem cells are strongly positioned to be the future of cell therapy and regenerative medicine.
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Keywords: Antiaging; Cord lining; Regenerative medicine; Stem cells; Tissue repair and regeneration

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Surgery, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore CellResearch Corporation Pte Ltd, Singapore

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.

    Cell Transplantation is now being published by SAGE. Please visit their website for the most recent issues.

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