Umbilical cord could be new source of plentiful stem cells, researchers say

Dec 17, 2009

Stem cells that could one day provide therapeutic options for muscle and bone disorders can be easily harvested from the tissue of the umbilical cord, just as the blood that goes through it provides precursor cells to treat some blood disorders, said University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine researchers in the online version of the Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology.

Umbilical cord tissue cells can be expanded to greater number, are remarkably stable and might not trigger strong immune responses, said senior investigator Bridget M. Deasy, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Pitt School of Medicine. The cells are obtained from the gelatinous material in the cord known as Wharton's jelly and from blood vessel walls.

"Our experiments indicate also that at least 21 million , and possibly as many as 500 million, could be banked from a single after the birth of a baby," she noted. "So, the cord could become an accessible source of a multitude of stem cells that overcomes many of the restrictions, such as limited quantity as well as donor age and donor sex issues, that come with other adult stem cell populations."

Dr. Deasy and her team analyzed sections of two-foot-long human umbilical cords that were donated for research, looking for cells in Wharton's jelly and blood vessel walls that displayed the characteristic protein markers found in stem cells derived from other sources. The researchers then sought to find the best way to isolate the stem cells from the cords, and tested them in the lab to confirm their ability to produce specialized cells, such as bone and cartilage, while retaining their invaluable ability to renew themselves.

To build on these findings, the team will test the umbilical cord stem cells in animal models of cartilage and bone repair, as well as muscle regeneration.

Explore further: New insights into how different tissues establish their biological and functional identities

More information: www.hindawi.com/journals/jbb/2009/789526.html

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Scientists discover new source for harvesting stem cells

Jun 23, 2009

A groundbreaking study conducted by Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland is the first to reveal a new avenue for harvesting stem cells from a woman's placenta, or more specifically the discarded placentas ...

Menstruation proves more than a curse

Nov 15, 2007

The cells which thicken the womb wall during a woman's menstrual cycle contain a newly discovered type of stem cell, and could be used in the treatment of damaged and/or old tissue, according to research published today in ...

Umbilical cord blood may help build new heart valves

Nov 10, 2008

Children with heart defects may someday receive perfectly-matched new heart valves built using stem cells from their umbilical cord blood, according to research presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions ...

Recommended for you

Deadly human pathogen Cryptococcus fully sequenced

Apr 17, 2014

Within each strand of DNA lies the blueprint for building an organism, along with the keys to its evolution and survival. These genetic instructions can give valuable insight into why pathogens like Cryptococcus ne ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Researchers successfully clone adult human stem cells

(Phys.org) —An international team of researchers, led by Robert Lanza, of Advanced Cell Technology, has announced that they have performed the first successful cloning of adult human skin cells into stem ...

Male monkey filmed caring for dying mate (w/ Video)

(Phys.org) —The incident was captured by Dr Bruna Bezerra and colleagues in the Atlantic Forest in the Northeast of Brazil.  Dr Bezerra is a Research Associate at the University of Bristol and a Professor ...

Researchers develop new model of cellular movement

(Phys.org) —Cell movement plays an important role in a host of biological functions from embryonic development to repairing wounded tissue. It also enables cancer cells to break free from their sites of ...

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

People with accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.