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Significant Scientific Breakthrough in Stem Cell Banking

Scientists from the Research Department of Cryo-Save Group NV together with the University of Cologne (DE) have developed a new scientifically validated method to collect adult mesenchymal stem cells ("MSCs") from the lining of umbilical cord tissue. This revolutionary new approach allows the collection and cryopreservation of very high quantities of valuable mesenchymal stem cells without invasive surgery.

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are of great therapeutic potential due to their capacity for self-renewal and differentiation into a wide variety of tissue types. MSCs are more "plastic" than haemopoteitic stem cells (HSCs) and therefore have a far broader range of potential therapeutic applications. They are also found in far greater numbers in the umbilical cord than HSCs are found in cord blood. Until now, the conventional source of MSCs has been bone marrow. However, the frequency and differentiation potential of MSCs decreases significantly with age, and there are significant benefits to collection and cryopreservation at birth.

The Cryo-Save Research Department has successfully isolated MSCss from umbilical cord tissue. Cryo-Save believes that this new methodology represents the first available opportunity to collect MSC's without invasive surgical techniques. By virtue of the ease of their isolation from the umbilical cord and their high differentiation potential, MSCs are considered likely by the Directors to be among the first stem cell types to be introduced in clinical use. Therefore, the collection of MSCs derived from the cord, and their long term preservation, maybe of significant value to stem cell therapy applications.

"Storing MSCs from the cord lining has the potential to broaden future cellular therapeutic application. We already know that umbilical cord blood contains stem cells which could be turned into many tissues including brain, liver and neural tissues. MSCs are one of the most important sources of somatic cells, with enormous clinical potential and they are therefore likely be used in tissue therapies, tissue engineering and gene therapy. We look forward to further validating cord MSCs for those applications", says Colin McGuckin, Professor of Regenerative Medicine at the University of Newcastle (UK).

"We will start offering the collection and storage of MSCs from the umbilical cord from 1 August 2007 in those countries where an appropriate regulatory framework allows. Today, we believe we are the first company in the world that will be able to offer this new service to parents across up to 36 countries", says Marc Waeterschoot, CEO Cryo-Save Group.

The collection of a part of the cord is done after the delivery and is a low risk procedure. A specialised temperature controlled transportation container will be made available to parents who decide to store their child's MSCs for possible future use. After thawing, MSCs can be successfully cultured using new techniques developed by Cryo-Save, which will greatly increase the potential number of stem cells available for future therapies.


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