Harvard Researchers Successfully Expand Cord Blood Stem Cells
In phase 1 of a clinical trial at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI), Harvard researchers attempted to expand the stem cells in umbilical cord blood to improve transplant success. The researchers were trying to show that a molecule 16-dimethyl prostaglandin E2 (or “dmPGE2”), which was discovered while studying blood formation in zebra fish, is able to expand the number of stem cells found in cord blood. This development is significant since, low cell count drastically limits the utility of umbilical cord blood today. The researchers found evidence that the molecule was able to expand the stem cells in cord blood by 300-400%. The study will now enter phase 2 where they will increase the number of test subjects from 12 to 60, results from this phase 2 should be available within 24 months.
View our recent press release on the topic.
The study is significant because one of the major limitations of cord blood today is that low volume collections are difficult and often impossible to use for adults, expanding the cells and improving transplant capabilities could one day help resolve this. Americord is very focused on this issue; Americord is developing a proprietary product that should also contribute to solving the small collection dilemma. “CordAdvantage” is being developed by Americord in an effort to collect additional hematopoietic cells from deep within the placenta. The hope is that by using a modified collection process, after you have collected the cord blood you will be able to inject a solution into the placenta that allows you to flush out 3-4 times the number of stem cells you extracted in the original cord blood collection. Additionally, because cell count can limit the usability of cord blood collections we follow a benchmark that all of our collections should be at least 100 million nucleated cells. If your collection were to fall below our benchmark, Americord will contact you with the option not to store your cord blood stem cells; if you decided not to store, you would not be charged for our service.