Is stem cell therapy really the medical miracle we’re all hoping for? Or is it just hype? Are private players confusing the consumer about its applications and the stages of clinical trials? A comprehensive answer to all of the above is the findings that were shared at the 5th ITERA Life-Sciences Consortium Symposium, Maastricht, Netherlands.
The symposium brought researchers from all parts of the globe and the verdict was unanimous – umbilical cord blood stem cells are the way forward in stem cell transplants, regenerative medicine and research.
Leading the charge for cord blood cells was Prof.Gluckman, the first doctor to use a cord blood stem cell transplant to cure a child with Fanconi’s Anemia. That was 1988. Prof Gluckman showed that since then, nearly 22%of all stem cell transplants used cord blood cells as opposed to bone marrow cells. The number of transplants has touched over 25000. And, these were mainly used to treat acute Leukemia and other blood related disorders.
The icing on the ITERA Symposium cake was the promise shown in regenerative medicine. This is the area that stem cells are supposed to revolutionize. And the Symposium showcased hard facts that prove that stem cells therapy for serious conditions is not science fiction, but reality that’s waiting around the corner.
Studies on different therapies to address spinal injury, organ repair and regeneration including heart, liver, kidney and bladder, are in the pre-clinical and clinical trial stages. For instance, a Swiss team will soon get into trials for therapy that will help premature infants suffering from prenatal brain injury.
So if you’re in a position to store your child’s umbilical cord blood stem cells, you shouldn’t be looking at the ‘why’ anymore, but go on to the ‘who’ and ‘where’!