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Umbilical cord blood cell therapy in an animal model of Alzheimer's disease

New Rochelle, NY, March 26, 2008A novel strategy based on targeted immune suppression using human umbilical cord blood cells may improve the pathology and cognitive decline associated with Alzheimers disease, based on the results of a study in a mouse model of this currently untreatable neurodegenerative condition, as described in a groundbreaking report in Stem Cells and Development (, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc ( The paper will be available free online (

Following a series of low-dose infusions of human umbilical cord blood cells into mice with Alzheimers-like disease, the amount of amyloid- and -amyloid plaqueshallmarks of Alzheimers pathology in the brainwas markedly reduced. Amyloid- induces an inflammatory response in the brain associated with the interaction of CD40 and CD40L, two pro-inflammatory molecules.

Human umbilical cord blood cell therapy was associated with suppression of CD40-CD40L activity, suggesting that this therapeutic approach modulates the activity of the immune system, offering the potential to target the pathogenic inflammatory response that may contribute to a variety of degenerative conditions, including Alzheimers disease.

Jun Tan, PhD, MD, and colleagues from USF (Tampa), Yale University (New Haven, CT), Cedars-Sinai Medical Center (Los Angeles, CA), Saneron CCEL Therapeutics (Tampa, FL), and Saitama Medical School (Japan), concluded that human umbilical cord blood cell-induced disruption of the CD40-CD40L interaction may alleviate the key pathologic changes in the brain associated with Alzheimers disease in a report entitled, Peripherally administered human umbilical cord blood cells reduce parenchymal and vascular beta-amyloid deposits in Alzheimer mice.

Previously, challenging observations have reported phenomena suggesting the non-hematologic therapeutic potential of blood stem cells. What is novel about this paper is its application to Alzheimers disease, and a significant advance in characterizing the ameliorative mechanism of action says Graham C. Parker, PhD, Editor-in-Chief of Stem Cells and Development, and a research professor in The Carman and Ann Adams Department of Pediatrics, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Children's Hospital of Michigan.


Contact: Vicki Cohn
Mary Ann Liebert, Inc./Genetic Engineering News

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