A made-in-Canada technology for amplifying the number of cord blood stem cells passed a key milestone in cancer trial moving to the next phase of trial. The study proved that this technology which incorporated the use of expanded cord blood stem cells could save lives.
The researchers infused expanded cord blood stem cells into the final patient of the clinical trial last week. Stem cells infused are expected to regenerate within the body and make healthy blood cells in patients with severe blood cancers. The choice of stem cells is mostly umbilical cord blood stem cells which are collected from newborns. Umbilical cord stem cells are preferred because they make an easier match, offer less chance of complications and are untainted in nature.
The only problem with cord blood stem cells are the number of stem cells retrieved are too petty from a single unit of cord blood to be used for an adult. The number of cells also differs from baby to baby, it cannot be increased according to our requirement. To resolve this issue, through this study the researchers have found a way to multiply the number of stem cells from a single unit of cord blood 35 times within a period of 7 days. Now, a phase 2 clinical trial is on its way to assess the efficacy of these expanded cord blood stem cells.
The clients who were included in the trial were monitored for 3 years after infusion and the outcome showed accelerated recovery in most cases when compared with conventional cord blood transplants. Thus the researchers felt that the results were very promising and also a longer follow-up was needed. The total survival rate of a patient who received expanded cord blood transplants after a span of a year was 75% compared to only 60% in conventional cord transplants.
The next trial is also planned to feature the same set of treatment on patients with high-risk leukaemia, who have a very low chance of survival. The technology employs a molecule of dubbed UM171 that binds to these stem cells & keeps them from specializing. They remain as stem cells and keep proliferating till they are thawed and infused into the patient.
After infusion, the stem cells migrate to the specific zone and engraft to multiply to form healthy blood cells. The additional safety this technology provides is that cord blood is not used directly making it more efficient and safe for use.
The results are very favourable thus far. Now that the issue on cord blood volume is resolved when there is a huge common pool of cord blood units from where patients in need can find a match, the entire country’s dearth for stem cells will also be completely sufficed.
To provide a solution to the issue of finding a matching unit of stem cell, Cord blood preservation in a community stem cell banking is recommended. At a community cord blood bank any member of the community can retrieve a matching unit whenever hit by crisis. Community banking when clubbed with this technology that increases the number of cord blood stem cells will become a true life-saver for all patients suffering from high-risk blood cancers. Thus, cord blood preservation is intended to be the game changer of the future.