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UMBILICAL CORD BLOOD IN REGENERATIVE MEDICINE - A REVIEW OF SOME RECENT SCIENTIFIC DEVELOPMENTS

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Author(s): Margarida Vieira

Journal: Acta Obstetrica e Ginecologia Portuguesa
ISSN 1646-5830


ABSTRACT
Stem cells are characterized by their self-renewal properties, high proliferative potential and capacity of differentiation into several types of cell lineages. One of the most promising sources of stem cells for cellular therapy is the umbilical cord blood, which is collected after birth and most often discarded as a biological waste. The easy collection, coupled with the fact that it is a non controversial stem cell source, had prompted the expansion of the clinical use of umbilical cord blood cells, during the last two decades. At present, the main indications are for hematologic and oncological diseases, such as leukemia, lymphomas, immunodeficiencies, among others. Although the present applications of cord blood cells are mainly in the haematological field, current research is showing that further areas may take advantage of this particular stem cell source, either in regenerative medicine, tissue engineering or gene therapy. This review is focused on recent developments of cord blood stem cell research, including basic research, pre-clinical animal studies, as well as ongoing patient trials. It describes some of the breakthroughs achieved in the field of cord blood stem cell research and how these exciting discoveries are being translated into the clinics.
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