About stem cells
Stem cells offer essentially unlimited applications
What are stem cells?
Stem cells are the building blocks of the body and they have unique attributes that can repair diseased or damaged tissue. Stem cells are immature cells that have not yet specialized. They are unique because they can multiply themselves by division, while generating more specialized mature cells. By reproducing themselves they retain their immature stage and maintain the level of stem cells in the body. This is a vital feature because a specialized cell normally cannot go back in maturity.
Every part of the human body contains stem cells, but most tissues are not a rich enough source to be harvested for therapeutic applications.
Where are stem cells found?
Stem cells can be found in abundance in places like bone marrow and fat tissue, but the younger, more flexible stem cells in the body come from a newborn’s umbilical cord blood and tissue. Umbilical cord stem cells were discovered in the 1960s, and their potential in regenerative medicine was quickly realised. In 1988, the first transplant was performed with umbilical cord blood, the then 5-year-old boy’s life could be saved by receiving his newborn little sister’s cord blood.
What cell therapies are available right now?
The most common use of stem cells stored in private banks is sibling donation for the treatment of leukemia. In addition to the 80 treatable conditions today, there is a vast and expanding range of new therapies being researched that anticipate using cord blood and tissue in the future; such as cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, autism, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and more. We ourselves run several clinical studies with the goal of treating type 1 diabetes with umbilical cord stem cells, please read more at NextCell Pharma.
See the entire list of current and future treatments here
When transplanting stem cells, it is important that recipients and donors have the matching tissue type
If the recipient receives cells that match, the risk of a rejection associated with the treatment decreases. The relationship between donor and recipient has proved important. Generally, a relative is preferred as a donor. The need of exact match between donor and recipient depends on which disease to be treated, the treatment method and the source of stem cells used. Umbilical cord stem cells are an immature stem cell source compared to bone marrow and this makes it easier on tissue type matching.
Umbilical cord stem cells are an immature stem cell source compared to bone marrow and this makes it easier on tissue type matching.
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What to consider when pregnant?
The umbilical cord and cord blood are two of the richest sources of stem cells in the human body, and they can only be saved at birth. A common misconception is that the saving of stem cells eliminates late cord clamping. When the cut has been made, there is no longer a function for the umbilical cord or placenta. We can always collect the umbilical cord tissue, and even after delayed cord clamping there is usually blood left in the cord. No matter how long you wait, mesenchymal stem cells can always be collected, isolated and stored.
To save your baby’s stem cells after birth, is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create your family’s own biological back up. If you want to save your child’s stem cells, it is important that you contact us before the start of your labour.