There are many different types of stem cells in the umbilical cord tissue.
There are epithelial and endothelial stem cells, but cord tissue is mainly rich in mesenchymal stem cells, MSC. Clinical trials are underway with umbilical cord stem cells as a treatment option for conditions and diseases such as autoimmune diseases, such as lupus, osteoarthritis, cardiovascular disease, organ and tissue damage, and neurological diseases.
MSCs can both multiply and differentiate into different tissues, such as bone cartilage, fat, tendons and muscles1.
They also carry several other unique features. The can, among other things, suppress inflammatory processes, inhibit immune reactions, and they are not attacked by the immune system after they have been transplanted into a foreign individual. These properties make umbilical cord tissue MSCs attractive to use in clinical trials for the following diseases and conditions, including CP, autism, Crohn´s disease, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, stroke, heart disease, Alzheimer´s disease and arthritis 2. It is likely that standardized treatments for these conditions may become clinically available in the not-too-distant future.
Clinical trials are also underway on endothelial and epithelial cells as a treatment for burns, wounds, vascular damage, and other conditions.
- Wei, X. et al. Mesenchymal stem cells: a new trend for cell therapy. Acta Pharmacol Sin 34, 747-754, doi:10.1038/aps.2013.50 (2013).
- Saeedi, P., Halabian, R. & Imani Fooladi, A. A. A revealing review of mesenchymal stem cells therapy, clinical perspectives and Modification strategies. Stem Cell Investig 6, 34, doi:10.21037/sci.2019.08.11 (2019).