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What the Future Holds

Cord blood use has especially increased among paediatric patients since 1999. Half of the transplants in children in 2011 used cord blood stem cells:

Expert Opinions

Beyond the currently approved applications of cord blood transplants, clinical trials are under way to improve results and to develop new applications.

Clinical trials analyse new medical treatments for their safety, efficacy and potentially adverse effects in humans. The Clinical Trials website is a registry containing most of the current clinical trials, conducted in public or private. It lists over 4,000 trials involving stem cells with the number of trials using umbilical cord blood stem cells increasing to over 200.8 This is attributed to the fact that more people are becoming aware of and understanding the importance of these cells.

Dr. Marcin Jurga

Dr. Marcin Jurga, R&D Manager at CryoSave’s flagship lab, Niel, Belgium:

“Apart from current therapies using hematopoietic stem cells from cord blood, there is an increasing number of clinical trials using mesenchymal stem cells for treatment of non-hematopoietic diseases, like orthopedic applications, graft-versus-host disease, heart diseases, liver diseases, diabetes, neurology and many others. These cells are also used in tissue engineering applications where artificial organs are built in a laboratory to replace damaged tissues after transplantation. Results from these trials and preclinical research will allow for more effective stem cell therapies in the future.”

Prof. Dr. Daniel Surbek

Prof. Dr. Daniel Surbek, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Inselspital Bern, Switzerland:

“Evidence from recent studies suggests that transplantation of stem cells from the umbilical cord may be used as treatment for severe perinatal brain damage due to preterm delivery or birth asphyxia. Transplanted stem cells may regenerate damaged neural tissue and central nervous system function. Several clinical trials in children affected by cerebral palsy are ongoing.”

Dr. Csaba Papp

Dr. Csaba Papp, associate professor, medical geneticist, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary:

“Together with the umbilical cord blood, the preservation of the cord tissue is not only a possibility for obtaining mesenchymal stem cells, but for yielding other cells that are important for future stem cell therapies.”