In the press there are increasing reports about the truly magical properties of cord blood (blood at the time of birth is taken from the umbilical cord). Including with it plans to treat HIV and multiple sclerosis. But some doctors claim that cord blood can serve as the elixir of youth. Is it really so? Or is it another medical “fashion”, which will take place in a few years?
Keep the blood in the Bank
Storage of umbilical cord blood in medical and research centers are special banks. They are saved or allocated samples (i.e., people contract and pay for storage of cord blood samples, which can only use them for themselves or their family members), or donor. Donor umbilical cord blood can be used to treat any patient who will require appropriate therapy.
What is the value of cord blood?
Umbilical cord blood contains so-called stem cells. It is cells that can become cells of different tissues, serve as a kind of reserve updates. They are called mesenchymal, and can be used for different types of therapy.
In addition to these “universal” stem cells are those that can be transformed into cells of specific tissues. They are called stromal.
For the first time the concept of “stem cell” was introduced histologist Alexander Maksimov, a Russian-American scientist who emigrated to the United States after the revolution. He began with the study of blood cells, and then extended its assumption of a common precursor to other tissues.
That treated stem cells?
For the first time stem cell therapy was applied in 1988, exactly 30 years ago. Five-year-old boy, who suffered from a rare genetic disease – Fanconi anemia was transplanted stem cells of his sister, who was healthy. The result is a dangerous disease cured, the patient is still alive, although the patients of this form of anaemia usually only live to adolescence.
After 30 years of using stem cells to treat neurological diseases, including cerebral palsy and autism. Stem cells are actively being investigated for the treatment of various diseases, including arthritis, cardiovascular pathologies, stroke, diabetes , and others.
Is it possible to grow a new body?
Scientists already know how to grow from stem cells of large structures. For example, when large burn injuries can be “grown” from stem cells of the skin. Experiments in this area are continuing and scientists are now able to create a large-scale transplants, including bone or substitute individual organs. Scientists from Sweden have already learned to grow the cornea from stem cells, and experts from Cambridge and the University of Edinburgh are carrying out a successful research possibility to restore the myelin sheath of nerves. This is a direct way to the treatment of multiple sclerosis.
Give whether stem cells eternal youth?
Until we have answered the main question with which we began our article: can I use cord blood or stem cells to ensure her eternal youth? There is encouraging information. Eternal youth, of course, is hardly possible. But to keep your body “on the level”.
For example, neuroscientists from the United States found that proteins included in the umbilical cord blood, improves brain function. The experiment was conducted on animals, and those who had made the injection, showed an excellent memory, the ability to navigate in space, to remember and to learn. Scientists do not exclude that on the basis of this protein can be used to create a drug to restore brain function in the elderly.
And by the way, in our article you can read about how stem cells grow liver. And how soon will such “replacement organs” will find a use.