Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are multipotent stromal cells that are able to divide and differentiate into a variety of mesenchymal tissues such as adipose tissues, tendons and ligaments, skeletal muscle tissues, bone and cartilage tissues and etc. Wharton Jelly of the umbilical cord has been found to be rich in MSCs and it tends to be the most primitive stromal population in the human body. Other sources of MSCs derived from human include bone marrow, fat tissue, peripheral blood and tooth pulps.
MSCs have huge potential for future regenerative medicine therapies. Regenerative medicine is a revolutionary approach that focuses on curing conditions as opposed to treating them. Regenerative medicine empowers doctors with the ability to replace damaged tissue in patients with healthy organic tissue (1).
Researches are currently being done for treatment of bone fractures and cartilage damage, for which they have been using in the veterinary industry for numerous years with considerable success (2). Lately, MSCs are also being researched for the treatment of heart and skeletal muscle diseases. There are also numerous clinical studies looking at the role of MSCs in a wide variety of conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis (3), Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease (4), type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and spinal, brain and cartilage injuries.
Although MSCs transplantation does not require any HLA matching, it is highly preferred and recommended that the source be from a family member.
Collection of MSCs from umbilical cord is easy, painless and causes no complication to the delivery process and has no controversies. After the cord blood is drained into the collection bag, the umbilical cord is collected and brought back to the lab where MSCs are isolated and cultivated.
- US Department of Health and Human Services, 2005
- María Carmen Arufe, Alexandre De la Fuente, Isaac Fuentes, Francisco Javier De Toro, Francisco Javier Blanco. Umbilical cord as a mesenchymal stem cell source for treating joint pathologies. World J Orthop 2011 June 18; 2(6): 43-50
- Yanying Liu, Rong Mu, Shiyao Wang, Li Long, Xia Liu, Ru Li, Jian Sun, Jianping Guo, Xiaoping Zhang, Jing Guo, Ping Yu, Chunlei Li, Xiangyuan Liu, Zhenyu Huang, Dapeng Wang, Hu Li, Zhifeng Gu, Bing Liu and Zhanguo Li. Therapeutic potential of human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis Research & Therapy 2010, 12:R210.
- Yu-Show Fu, Yun-Chih Cheng2, Maan-Yuh Anya Lin3,4, Henrich Cheng5,6,8, Pei-Ming Chu2, Shih-Chich Chou2, Yang-Hsin Shih7,9, Miau-Hwa Ko10, Min-Shan Sung Ph.D.11,* Conversion of Human Umbilical Cord Mesenchymal Stem Cells in Wharton's Jelly to Dopaminergic Neurons In Vitro: Potential Therapeutic Application for Parkinsonism. STEM CELLS Volume 24, Issue 1, pages 115-124, January 2006.