Published: Oct 2, 2009
Cord Cells Alternative To Embryonic Cells
by Staff

Blood cells from umbilical cords could be banked worldwide to serve as an alternative to embryonic stem cells, scientists in California said.

Umbilical blood cells reprogrammed to function like embryonic stem cells could be the basis for a bank of tissue-matched cells that would serve as a safe, ready-to-use source of stem cells, said Juan-Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, a professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, Calif.

The more than 400,000 cord blood units already banked worldwide could be expanded into a comprehensive bank, Belmonte said in a release Friday.

Umbilical blood cells possess the immunological immaturity of newborn cells, which allows a donor-recipient match to be less than perfect without the risk of immune rejection in transplants, Belmonte said.

The large scale production and banking of cord blood cells in a publicly available network could cost less and save more time than trying to produce embryonic cells for clinical applications, Belmonte said. (c) UPI

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