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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Tissue repair and regeneration
Document Type: Research Article
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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