Increase in cord blood stem cell research seeds therapeutic advances, outpacing embryonic stem cells
New York – April 29, 2013 – Doctors at the University of Minnesota performed an umbilical cord blood transplant for a young boy with both AIDS and leukemia that may cure him of both diseases. This announcement comes among an increasing number of stories about cutting-edge treatments that use stem cells from umbilical cord blood to treat previously incurable diseases and conditions.
The increase in treatments using cord blood stem cells is correlated with the pace at which cord blood stem cell research is advancing. According to BioInformant Worldwide, a research company focused on the stem cell industry, the past five years yielded a 144% increase in ongoing clinical trials for cord blood research. Citing data from clinicaltrials.gov the report noted that there were 78 ongoing clinical trials for cord blood stem cells in 2008 as compared to 191 in 2012. BioInformant also reported that the number of diseases treated with cord blood stem cells has risen by more than 145%, from 33 to 81 in the same time period.
BioInformat reported that the number of diseases treated with cord blood stem cells has risen by more than 145%...
The advancement in research and availability of treatments continues to stimulate interest in cord blood banking among parents-to-be. Martin Smithmyer, CEO of Americord Registry noted, “Double digit growth in the cord blood banking industry is allowing for more research funding and we’re making tremendous therapeutic advances as a result. This investment money pales in comparison to what goes into embryonic stem cell research or IPS stem cell research, despite the fact that neither field has provided a therapeutic use to date.”
Stem cells from umbilical cord blood, which are only available when a baby is born, are particularly valuable from both medical and ethical standpoints, which is likely why many researchers are focused on cord blood stem cell research. Umbilical cord blood stem cells are easy and painless to collect, easier to match (particularly with siblings), and very flexible in terms of the other types of cells they can become. And, while umbilical cord blood stem cells are most similar to embryonic stem cells in terms of their ability to become other types of cells, unlike embryonic stem cells, they are non-controversial. Preserving umbilical cord blood stem cells from newborns today will likely continue to provide more medical treatment options for families in the future.