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All you need to know about stem cell treatments and their role in the future of healthcare and regenerative medicine.

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News, opinion and advice on stem cell research and treatment, from Wideacademy.

Second Opinion

"Herpes virus may help inform treatment planning for stem cell transplants" (Eureka Alert)

What do our experts say?

Can a common virus help inform treatment planning for stem cell transplant patients? WideCells Group CSO Peter Hollands reviews the research. Graft versus host disease (GvHD) is an issue for almost all stem cell transplantees to a greater or lesser extent, but a new study demonstrates that a common virus could hold a partial solution. The human cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a form of the herpes…
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Feature

What is Hodgkin's Lymphoma disease and how can stem cells help?

by Wideacademy on 10 January, 2018

What’s is Hodgkin’s Lymphoma? Both Hodgkin’s and Non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas are cancers of the blood that begin in a subset of white blood cells called lymphocytes. If, in examining the cancer cells under a microscope, the doctor detects the presence of an abnormal cell called a Reed-Sternberg cell, the lymphoma is classified as Hodgkin’s. Lymphocytes produce either B-cells (responsible for making antibodies to fight viruses) or T-cells, which destroy cells that have been taken over by viruses or become cancerous. Abnormal lymphocytes become cancerous lymphoma cells, which multiply and collect in…

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Feature

Hunter Syndrome and the future of stem cell treatment for mucopolysaccharidoses

by Wideacademy on 10 January, 2018

What is Hunter Syndrome? Hunter Syndrome is an inherited metabolic disorder affecting males. In Europe, one in approximately 150,000 babies is born with the disease. The disease takes its name from Charles Hunter, from Manitoba, Canada, who first described two brothers with the disorder in 1917. It is caused by a deficiency of the enzyme iduronate sulphatase, which is essential for breaking down the long molecular chains of sugar used by the body in the building of connective tissues like bone, cartilage and tendons, known as mucopolysaccharides. Mucopolysaccharides are also known as…

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Feature

DiGeorge Syndrome: the future of stem cell therapy for the genetic primary immunodeficiency disease

by Wideacademy on 10 January, 2018

What is DiGeorge Syndrome? DiGeorge syndrome is a genetic primary immunodeficiency disease caused by the deletion of some genes on chromosome 22, affecting around one in every 5,000 babies. The outcome for patients can be vastly different depending on which genes are missing. Although DiGeorge is an inherited disorder (if one parent has DiGeorge there is a 50% chance of passing it onto a child), more than 90% of cases are due to spontaneous mutations — which means there is no family history. In some cases the symptoms of DiGeorge syndrome are minimal and a patient may not be diagnosed until…

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Feature

Acute leukaemia and the future of stem cell treatment for blood cancer

by Wideacademy on 10 January, 2018

What is Acute Leukaemia? Acute Leukaemia is a form of blood cancer which progresses especially quickly. Leukaemia is identified by the overproduction of white blood cells, or leukocytes. When the body produces more leukocytes than it should these white blood cells do not mature normally and so compromise, or totally impair, the immune system. As a leukaemia sufferer’s body is flooded with leukocytes it is left unable to produce the right level of red blood cells and platelets. A routine virus or bacteria may be fatal, as your body is unable to produce the healthy white blood cells which would…

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Feature

Neuroblastoma: the future of stem cell treatment for childhood cancers

by Wideacademy on 10 January, 2018

What is neuroblastoma? Neuroblastoma is a cancer of immature nerve cells called neuroblasts, which grow into tumours. It is the most common cancer in babies and the third most common cancer in children, mostly affecting under 5s. Usually it starts in the adrenal glands just above the kidneys, but it can also develop in the neck, chest, abdomen or spine. The cancer can spread through the blood and lymphatic system to the bone marrow, bones, lymph nodes, liver and skin. Symptoms can include: tiredness loss of appetite weakness bone pain numbness bluish lumps under the skin eyes that bulge dark…

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Feature

Hurler Syndrome and treatment using stem cells

by Wideacademy on 10 January, 2018

What is Hurler Syndrome? Hurler Syndrome is an inherited condition which causes gradual mental and physical deterioration. It is related to the structure and function of a component within every cell in our bodies, called a lysosome. Every lysosome within every cell of our bodies contains complex enzymes, the function of which is to break down and recycle carbohydrates the body can no-longer use. These carbohydrates are chains of sugar called mucopolysaccharide molecules, or glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), that help to build bone, cartilage and other connective tissue. When mucopolysaccharides…

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Feature

Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma: the future of stem cell treatment for blood cancer

by Wideacademy on 10 January, 2018

What is Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma? Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is a cancer of the blood. It begins in a subset of white blood cells called lymphocytes. Lymphocytes are either B-cells (responsible for making antibodies to fight viruses) or T-cells, which destroys cells infected by viruses or that have become cancerous. Abnormal lymphocytes become cancerous lymphoma cells, which multiply and collect in your lymph nodes eventually impairing your immune system. The lymphatic system is composed of lymph nodes in our neck, armpits, groin, chest and abdomen. Lymphoma cancers develop in the nodes and can…

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Feature

Multiple Myeloma: how stem cell therapies might shape future treatment

by Wideacademy on 10 January, 2018

What is Multiple Myeloma? Multiple Myeloma is a cancer of plasma cells, a type of white blood cell found in bone marrow. Plasma cells play an important role in our immune systems. They are produced in response to infection and create antibodies which recognise and fight invading germs. In rare cases, normal plasma cells transform into malignant myeloma cells where they produce high volumes of an abnormal antibody called M protein. These myeloma cells grow out of control to form a tumour (isolated plasmacytoma) or several tumours, as is the case with Multiple Myeloma. These tumours prevent your…

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Feature

Retinoblastoma: childhood eye cancer and future stem cell treatments

by Wideacademy on 08 January, 2018

What is Retinoblastoma? Retinoblastoma is a rare form of eye cancer, usually affecting children under five. In Britain, approximately one child is diagnosed with the condition every week. It is a cancer of the retina, the light-sensitive lining at the back of the eye, and develops when immature nerve cells, called retinoblasts, grow out of control and form a tumour. Retinoblastoma has a very good survival rate if it is diagnosed early. In the UK, around 98 per cent of children will survive following treatment. In most cases, the child is treated before the cancer spreads from the eye to the…

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Second Opinion

"'Unheard of' results in myeloma CAR-T study: but is it worth the risk?" (Reuters)

What do our experts say?

CAR-T therapy has received a lot of press recently, and this study shows why to some extent, says WideCells Group CSO Peter Hollands. An immunotherapy, CAR-T treatment calls for the modification of a patient’s T-cells with special proteins which help them to target and fight specific cancer cells. A not entirely new idea, immunotherapy more broadly has been around for twenty or so years. What’s…
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Second Opinion

"Why old and young muscle stem cells behave differently" (News Medical)

What do our experts say?

A new study comparing the activity of muscle stem cells in a healthy but elderly body versus those in an injured but young body has concluded that cells in each area work very differently. WideCells Group CSO Peter Hollands responds. The cells in the elderly body are restricted (they have limited heterogeneity – i.e. they can’t divide very much) while those same cells in an injured younger…
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Second Opinion

"Who nose? Research into repairing olfactory function smells good" (Science Daily)

What do our experts say?

WideCells Group CSO Peter Hollands examines new research from Tufts University School of Medicine. The research focuses on what are called induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), a stem cell created from a “normal” non-stem cell through the deliberate introduction of a set of specially chosen genes. Not yet fully understood, research is still ongoing into how iPSCs might be fully harnessed…
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Second Opinion

"Amniotic fluid stem cells could be harvested via new caesarean technique " (New Atlas)

What do our experts say?

It has been known for some time that amniotic fluid contains a large number of very useful stem cells. This is something that our associates in Kolkata have been studying for a number of years, in fact. But the drawback to using them has been the difficulty in reliably extracting them, writes WideCells Group CSO Peter Hollands. To gather them, a caesarean section is usually necessary. This is…
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Second Opinion

"Could stem cells herald a cure for Type 1 diabetes?" (Medical News Today)

What do our experts say?

Often when we talk about experimental stem cell treatments, we are talking about rebuilding bones and tissue. But this diabetes study focuses on how faulty stem cells can themselves be fixed through the use of a newly formulated protein, dubbed PLD1. WideCells Group CSO Peter Hollands responds. Diabetes is a complex autoimmune disease, in which the patient’s own immune system begins attacking…
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Second Opinion

"From mice to men? Paraplegic rodents regain movement after stem cell therapy" (Daily Mail)

What do our experts say?

This article published in the Daily Mail focused on research attempting to regrow the damaged spines of paraplegic rats, which produced positive results – around 60% of the rats tested recovered some movement. The hope is that this insight can be transferred into treatments for paralysed humans. WideCells Group CSO Peter Hollands responds. Interesting research, but as always, it’s worth bearing…
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Feature

Who regulates stem cell research in the UK?

by Wideacademy on 23 November, 2017

Regulation is vital for medical research treatment, protecting patients and clinical trial participants while also safeguarding high quality, evidence-led research. However, regulation is only as effective as the bodies which devise and enforce it, so UK stem cell research is fortunate to benefit from robust, well-funded regulatory organisations. The main bodies and their responsibilities, are: The main regulatory organisations The key organisations responsible for regulating stem cell research in the UK are the Human Tissue Authority (HTA) and the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority…

Clinical Settings 2

Who might be interested in this

  • Students of stem cell research
  • Parents with children under 10
  • Anyone interested in the future of medicine
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FAQs

What are stem cells?

Stem cells are the foundation for every organ and tissue in the body - consider them the mother cells of any type of cell. Stem cells can become cells of the blood, heart, bones, skin, muscles, brain and so on.

There are many different sources of stem cells but all types of stem cells have the same capacity to develop into multiple types of cells. They have the ability to self-renew, so stem cells can live for the whole lifetime of the human or animal. Sterm cells can also differentiate, allowing more specialised cells to develop, such as the cells in the blood.

Stem cells can come from many different tissues the body and are formed at different times in our lives. For example embryonic stem cells exist only at the earliest stages of embryonic development and various other types of tissue-specific (or adult) stem cells appear during fetal development and remain in our bodies throughout life.

Stem cells can be retrieved from a variety of sources in the human body:

  • Umbilical Cord Blood
  • Umbilical Cord Tissue
  • Placenta
  • Adipose tissue (fat)
  • Dental pulp
  • Peripheral blood (Very Small Embryonic Like Stem Cells, VSEL, found in the blood in our veins)

There are an increasing number of diseases which can be treated with stem cell therapy. Bone marrow transplants were the most widely used stem cell transplant. More recently cord blood has been introduced as a source of stem cells and has now been used to treat more than 80 diseases.

In diseases such as leukemia, stem cell activity is disrupted resulting in an excess of abnormal white cells. This can be corrected using stem cell transplantation.

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Feature

Should I store the stem cells of all my family?

by Wideacademy on 14 November, 2017

The key benefit of stem cell storage is that it allows parents to provide their children with future access to an enormous range of treatment opportunities. Already, stem cells from cord blood are used on a regular basis to treat blood and immune diseases such as leukaemia. Although it’s not possible to predict future uses, there are currently clinical trials of stem cells underway for many of today’s incurable conditions including Alzheimer’s. Parents considering stem cell storage for their child’s cord blood and tissue currently have two options – public or private storage. Private storage…

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  • Parents with children under 10
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FAQs

How do stem cells work?

A stem cell is essentially the building block of the human body. Stem cells are capable of dividing for long periods of time, are unspecialised, but can develop into specialised cells. They are the foundation for every organ and tissue in the body: they can become cells of the blood, heart, bones, skin, muscles, brain and so on.

The earliest stem cells in the human body are those found in the human embryo. The stem cells inside an embryo will eventually give rise to every cell, tissue and organ in the fetus's body. Unlike a regular cell, which can only replicate to create more of its own kind of cell, a stem cell is pluripotent – it can give rise to several different cell types. When it divides, it can make any one of the 220 different cells in the human body. Stem cells also have the capability to self-renew – they can reproduce themselves many times over. Stem cells can come from different places in the body and are formed at different times in a lifetime.

Stem cells can repair and replace many cell types in the body – because of this ability, they could be a potential source in future treatments of chronic and degenerative diseases, as well as treating damage to body tissue.

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Feature

What are the questions to ask before starting stem cell treatment?

by Wideacademy on 13 November, 2017

If you are considering a stem cell treatment, you will probably already have a number of questions you plan to ask your clinician before proceeding further. But you might not have thought of everything – so below, we’ve compiled a comprehensive set of the questions you should ensure are answered before you make the decision to receive a steam cell treatment. We’ve also provided reasons why you should ask this question – and how you should interpret the answer. Consider it a checklist, the answers to which can help you to decide whether or not to go ahead. The treatment The fundamentals of…

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FAQs

How are cord blood stem cells collected?

Cord blood stem cells are collected when a baby is born by the simple collection of the blood remaining in the umbilical cord and placenta after the baby is born and the umbilical cord has been clamped.

The collection of cord blood does not interfere with the birth process and presents no harm to either mother or baby.

The cord blood is processed in a clean room laboratory to concentrate the stem cells for transplant and frozen in liquid nitrogen to create a stem cell bank. Once frozen the cord blood stem cells are theoretically stable indefinitely and the oldest frozen cord blood unit to be transplanted to date was over 20 years old.

Cord blood may be stored with private companies and kept for family use only or it can be donated to a public bank where it is available for transplant to anyone in need. There have been approximately 40,000 cord blood stem cell transplants to date for up to 80 different blood disorders, and over 600,000 cord blood units have been stored for transplantation worldwide.

These diseases are mainly diseases of the bone marrow such as leukaemia and they also include sickle cell disease, thalassaemia and the repair of bone marrow following high dose chemotherapy.

Clinical trials are underway using cord blood stem cells to treat cerebral palsy and autism.

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Podcast

Podcast: The state of play in the stem cells industry

by Wideacademy on 06 November, 2017

The Wideacademy Podcast is a new monthly series bringing you the latest news, developments and information from the world of stem cell research and tech. Our first guest, Dr. Peter Hollands, offers an introduction to stem cell technology – what it is and where it’s going.

He talks us through key breakthroughs, such as the use of cord blood to treat 80 different blood diseases, the discovery of different types of tissues, and the development of ‘induced pluripotent stem cells’.

Who might be interested in this

  • Anyone interested in the future of medicine
  • Parents with children under 10
  • Students of stem cell research
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Second Opinion

"Can scientists use human stem cells to build a new rat intestine?" (The Verge)

What do our experts say?

The Verge reports on research conducted into the possibilities for growing entirely new organs using stem cells, based on a recently conducted study which resulted in the successful creation and transplantation of a rat intestine. WideCells Group CSO Peter Hollands responds. It’s excellent work, and a fascinating experimental study from a scientist’s point of view – but it’s worth noting that it…
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Second Opinion

"Are stem cells the next stage in sports medicine?" (Sports Illustrated)

What do our experts say?

Sports Illustrated report that at the Andrews Institute, Stem Cells are seen as the next stage in sports medicine, Peter Hollands, chief scientific officer, Widecells Group PLC responds. Sports Illustrated here correctly asserts that stem cell therapy is well suited to sports medicine. The damage caused by sport – effectively post-traumatic – is generally to skeletal components, not dissimilar to…
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Success Story

How stem cell treatment can help with leukaemia

by Wideacademy on 29 October, 2017

When Keegan Doheney was two years old he was diagnosed with leukaemia; a cancer affecting cells in the blood. Thankfully, doctors were able to get his cancer into remission. While his family remained optimistic about the future they were aware that there was the possibility of a relapse. When Keegan’s mother Wendy became pregnant again she decided to bank the baby’s cord blood. Speaking about the decision to bank her son Keldan’s cord blood Wendy said, “Keegan was in great shape, went through all his chemo and came out healthy. So I never thought in my wildest dreams that we would need it…

Family 1

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  • Anyone interested in the future of medicine
  • Parents with children under 10
  • Students of stem cell research
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Feature

What are the different kinds of stem cells?

by Wideacademy on 29 October, 2017

Stem cells are essential for life and without them tissue such as bone marrow and skin would not be able to regenerate. The regenerative properties of stem cells can potentially be harnessed to provide stem cell-based treatments for a wide range of diseases, often referred to as Regenerative Medicine. There are stem cells associated with most tissue types but this review will focus on an overview of those stem cell types with current or potential clinical applications in the treatment of diseases and their properties. There is some terminology which you need to understand in order to develop…

Stem cells

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  • Students of stem cell research
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Feature

How are dental pulp stem cells collected?

by Wideacademy on 29 October, 2017

Every time an adult healthy tooth is extracted for routine orthodontic procedures or a child loses a deciduous (milk) tooth there is the opportunity to collect and store stem cells. The start of the process is for the dentist or parents is to place the extracted tooth into a collection pot. The cells inside the tooth are viable for up to 72 hours after collection enabling teeth to be sent to Manchester from Europe, the Middle East and Far East. The 'donor' of the tooth has to undergo a blood test for infectious disease screening as required by the regulatory authorities. This blood work must…

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  • Parents with children under 10
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Success Story

How stem cell treatment can help with paediatric stroke

by Wideacademy on 28 October, 2017

Shelley Connelly had a fantastic pregnancy with her daughter, Peyton. Nevertheless, Shelley decided to bank her daughter’s cord blood. Unfortunately, days before her first birthday Peyton became ill; whenShelley went to stand Peyton up in her cot she “just fell over”. Peyton had a very large tumour which needed to be removed immediately. The doctors then broke further devastating news that Peyton had suffered a massive stroke and that there was nothing they could do. The lasting effects of paediatric stroke can be life-changing especially in those who develop a long term brain injury or…

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  • Parents with children under 10
  • Students of stem cell research
  • Anyone interested in the future of medicine
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Second Opinion

"How charlatans threaten stem cell research with unproven cures" (The Guardian)

What do our experts say?

This Guardian article highlights the ongoing global issue with fraudulent clinics claiming to offer validated stem cell therapies, and correctly asserts that not only can this result in tragedy for those exploited, but it also restricts the development of legitimate stem cell therapies. There are no easy answers on how to prevent fraudulent stem cell treatment – to some extent, the problem is self…
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Second Opinion

"Will stem cell therapy help with arthritis?" (Palm Beach Post)

What do our experts say?

The Palm Beach Post reports that stem cell therapy can help tackle arthritis. Peter Hollands , chief scientific officer, Widecells Group PLC responds. You may have read this article from a Florida doctor, or versions of it, which outline a standard approach to using stem cells to treat arthritis – but, importantly, there are some areas that he is not comprehensive in covering. While he is…
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Success Story

How stem cell treatment can help in cases of neuroblastoma

by Wideacademy on 22 October, 2017

Frances Everall was born in 2002 when cord blood banking was relatively new. However, her parents saw the value it could hold and decided to store her cord blood, although they never expected to need it. When Frances was four years old she was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma. It was a devastating diagnosis. One of the early options put forward to her parents was to take her home to die as the cancer was so advanced. Neuroblastoma is a rare type of childhood cancer which predominantly affects children under the age of five. Neuroblastoma originates in nerve cells which are in early…

Family 2

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  • Parents with children under 10
  • Students of stem cell research
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Feature

How to store cord blood: here's all you need to know

by Wideacademy on 22 October, 2017

After a baby has been delivered and the cord is clamped and cut, cord blood is collected. It does not cause pain or any harm to the baby or the mother. It only takes a few minutes to preserve the stem cells in cord blood. After birth, once the umbilical cord has been clamped, it is wiped with antiseptic, then a needle is inserted into the cord to withdraw the blood remaining in the umbilical cord and pleacenta There are two methods of cord blood collection: the first, and most common, involves inserting a needle into the umbilical cord after the baby has been born and the placenta is still…

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Feature

What are the benefits and consequences of storing umbilical cord blood

by Wideacademy on 21 October, 2017

Umbilical cord blood is a rich source of stem cells. These could prove to be a lifesaver in the future.. This blood, obtained at the birth of a baby, is often discarded as medical waste, but there is no reason not to store it for future use – potentially for your whole family. The stem cells that can be retrieved from the umbilical cord after birth are currently used in treating a range of conditions. These include: Various forms of leukaemia Anaemias Lymphomas Blood cancers Bone marrow cancers In recent times, treatments with cord blood stem cells have used in a clinical trial for infants…

Clinical Settings 3

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  • Anyone interested in the future of medicine
  • Parents with children under 10
  • Students of stem cell research
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Feature

Is it better to donate umbilical cord blood or use a private cord blood bank?

by Wideacademy on 18 October, 2017

There is little reason not to bank cord blood. When stored in family banks, cord blood can used in transplants to an immediate relatives; patients with a related donor have higher survival rates. Emerging therapies also open up the possibility of children in the future being able to use their own banked cord blood stem cells to help the body repair itself. Patients with access to their own cord blood in private bank facilities, may at a later stage have greater access to new stem cell procedures. Private cord blood banks offer people peace of mind that they have stem cells stored for their…

Clinical Settings 1

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Feature

How to choose a cord blood bank

by Wideacademy on 18 October, 2017

After birth, blood is drawn from the umbilical cord. This is a simple procedure which doesn’t not cause any pain to the baby or the mother. Three types of cells can be collected at the birth of a child: stem cells from umbilical cord blood; stem cells from umbilical cord tissue; and stem cells from the placenta. At the birth healthcare providers will have a fully validated stem cell collection kit, which is easy to use, and does not require any special temperature-controlled environment. It takes only a few minutes to collect the stem cells in cord blood: the umbilical cord is clamped, wiped…

Clinical Settings 2

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Feature

What could be the future applications of cord blood stem cells?

by Wideacademy on 17 October, 2017

The best way to assess future applications for cord blood stem cell technology is to review ongoing and planned clinical trials. This is because clinical trials are based on solid experimental data and do not represent a 'wish list' which is often seen in stem cell technology. Clinical trials are currently underway using cord blood stem cells in the treatment of the following diseases: Cerebral palsy Autism Type 1 diabetes Articular cartilage defects Bronchopulmonary dysplasia Ischaemic stroke Future clinical applications of cord blood stem cell technology, in addition to those already…

Research 7

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  • Anyone interested in the future of medicine
  • Students of stem cell research
  • Parents with children under 10
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Success Story

How stem cell treatment can help with Diamond-Blackfan anaemia

by Wideacademy on 17 October, 2017

It was clear immediately after his birth that something was not right with Dillon Low. The delivery room was quiet. Within 10 minutes his parents were informed that he needed a blood transfusion. After a series of tests it was confirmed that Dillon had Diamond-Blackfan anaemia - a rare, inherited blood disorder caused by the bone marrow’s failure to create red blood cells. Red blood cells play an important role in the body as they carry oxygen. A lack of these cells can cause fatigue and pale skin along with other symptoms. Dillon would spend a large amount of time at hospital undergoing…

Family 3

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  • Students of stem cell research
  • Parents with children under 10
  • Anyone interested in the future of medicine
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Feature

What are adipose tissue stem cells?

by Wideacademy on 17 October, 2017

Adipose (fat) tissue contains mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) similar to those found in dental pulp and cord tissue. Adipose tissue is collected mainly from elective liposuction for cosmetic reasons and stored in a family stem cell bank. Adipose tissue is not stored in public banks. It is also possible to harvest fat to obtain MSC for use in that patient at the time of need and use the freshly collected MSC for treatment. Adipose MSC are currently being used in clinical trials for the treatment of: • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's' Disease) • Osteoarthritis • Ischaemic Syndrome…

Research 5

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Feature

What is potency in stem cells?

by Wideacademy on 16 October, 2017

Stem cells are categorised according to their ability to develop into different tissue types. Some stem cells are capable of differentiating into more different tissue types than others. __Totipotent __ These stem cells can differentiate into any type of tissue. They can create all cell types, tissues, nerves to make a complete organism. The only known totipotent stem cells are the individual cells of the early embryo which are called blastomeres. Each individual blastomere is capable of creating a complete animal or person including the placenta and associated membranes. As the embryo…

Clinical Settings 4

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Success Story

How stem cell treatment can help with sickle cell anaemia

by Wideacademy on 13 October, 2017

When Carol Mulumba was just three weeks old she was diagnosed with sickle cell anaemia. Sickle cell anaemia is a hereditary blood disorder common in Black, Asian, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean heritage. The red blood cells in sickle cell anaemia have an abnormal sickle shape, hence the name. Sickle cells can cause many problems: the cells do not move as freely through the blood vessels and can cause blockages which result in severe pain. In the UK those with African and Caribbean heritage are most commonly affected by sickle cell anaemia. The only cure for sickle cell anaemia is a stem…

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Feature

Should I donate my stem cells?

by Wideacademy on 10 October, 2017

Stem cells extracted from cord blood are currently used to treat children with blood cancer such as leukaemia, as well as genetic blood diseases, while adults have been successfully treated with double cord transplants or expanded cord blood stem cells. Since the 1950s, bone marrow stem cell therapy has been routinely used to treat blood disorders. Bone marrow transplantation has been carried out on thousands of patients in the treatment of leukaemia and blood disorders. A major development in stem cell technology came in 1986 with the introduction of peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC…

Clinical Settings 2

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What are cord tissue stem cells?

by Wideacademy on 09 October, 2017

The umbilical cord itself is a source of mesenchymal stem cells (MSC). These stem cells can be harvested, processed and stored at the same time as cord blood stem cells. Cord tissue stem cells can be used to repair bone, nerves, connective tissue, tendons and muscle. Cord tissue stem cells are not currently in routine clinical use but there are clinical trials underway to assess the potential of cord tissue stem cells in the treatment of: Ulcerative colitis Type 1 diabetes Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Articular cartilage defects Hepatic cirrhosis Multiple Sclerosis Spinal cord injury…

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  • Students of stem cell research
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Feature

How stem cell treatment can aid paediatric stroke

by Wideacademy on 08 October, 2017

Shelley Connelly had a fantastic pregnancy with her daughter, Peyton. Nevertheless, Shelley decided to bank her daughter’s cord blood. Unfortunately, days before her first birthday Peyton became ill; when Shelley went to stand Peyton up in her cot she “just fell over”. Peyton had a very large tumour which needed to be removed immediately. The doctors then broke further devastating news that Peyton had suffered a massive stroke and that there was nothing they could do. The lasting effects of paediatric stroke can be life-changing especially in those who develop a long term brain injury or…

Family 3

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  • Parents with children under 10
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Feature

What are bone marrow stem cells?

by Wideacademy on 08 October, 2017

Stem cell technology began in 1956 with the first transplant of bone marrow stem cells to treat leukaemia using donor bone marrow from an identical twin. This was followed in 1968 by the first bone marrow transplant for a nonmalignant disease (severe combined immunodeficiency syndrome) using donor bone marrow from a matched sibling. The first bone marrow transplant using donor marrow from an unrelated donor took place in 1973 and since this time large bone marrow donor registries have been developed worldwide. The major drawback when transplanting bone marrow is the need for a close tissue…

Clinical Settings 1

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What are the risks involved in stem cell treatments?

by Wideacademy on 07 October, 2017

Stem cell transplantation is a complex process requiring high dose chemotherapy, isolation of the patient to avoid infection and a wait for the donated stem cells to engraft which can take many weeks. Chemotherapy has significant side effects on the digestive system and sometimes on the body as a whole Infections before the donated stem cell engraft can be serious and sometimes fatal. In certain cases, transplanted cells and the recipient’s cells can clash, causing what is called “graft versus host disease” (GvHD). It can happen within days of transplants – and up to two years later. It is can…

Clinical Settings 1

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  • Parents with children under 10
  • Anyone interested in the future of medicine
  • Students of stem cell research
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Feature

What are the disadvantages of using cord blood stem cells?

by Wideacademy on 03 October, 2017

There is one disadvantage when using cord blood stem cells and this relates to the number of stem cells present in a single cord blood collection. In a single cord blood collection (unit) there are sufficient stem cells to treat a patient (using standard blood disorder transplantation protocols) who weighs a maximum of 30Kg. For this reason most of the cord blood transplants to date have been to children or small adults. More recently this disadvantage has been addressed in two ways: Larger patients have received more than one cord blood unit, typically two or three units per patient. This…

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Who might be interested in this

  • Anyone interested in the future of medicine
  • Parents with children under 10
  • Students of stem cell research
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How long can I store my stem cells for?

by Wideacademy on 02 October, 2017

It is not easy to say with any certainty how long stem cells can be stored for. Most cord blood banks do not give an “expiry date” on storage, because with advances in storing procedures and general technological improvements, it is likely to change in any case. Cord blood banking is a relatively young industry. It has only been in existence for around 25 years so many cord blood banks use that as their benchmark, saying storage can be “for at least 25 years”. But there is a reasonable chance that storage can last longer than that, but at present there is no reliable data to support that…

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Who might be interested in this

  • Parents with children under 10
  • Anyone interested in the future of medicine
  • Students of stem cell research
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What are peripheral blood stem cells?

by Wideacademy on 28 September, 2017

In 1986 there was a major development in stem cell technology with the introduction of peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) transplantation to clinical practice. PBSC are stem cells which are mobilised, from the bone marrow of the patient himself or a donor, into the peripheral blood circulation by means of medication. The PBSC are collected from the peripheral circulation of the donor using a process known as apheresis which is less invasive and carries fewer risks than bone marrow collection. PBSC transplantation has now completely replaced bone marrow transplantation in those patients who…

Peripheral blood stem cells

Who might be interested in this

  • Students of stem cell research
  • Parents with children under 10
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Why should I store my child’s stem cells?

by Wideacademy on 21 September, 2017

Stem cells have a great potential importance in the future of healthcare. Stem cells are able to repair and replace different cells types in the body. With advancements in technology, it is hoped stem cells will be used in therapy for degenerative diseases and in treatment of damage to tissue. Storing umbilical cord blood offers peace of mind and the opportunity to avail of these advancements at a later stage. Cord blood stem cells are among the youngest possible stem cells that can be collected and stored. Exploring their use in treating disease is the subject of many clinical trials. The…

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Who might be interested in this

  • Parents with children under 10
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FAQs

Why would I need to store my stem cells?

Stem cells are specialised cells which have the ability to repair and replace many cell types in the body – as a result they have great potential in future treatment of chronic and degenerative diseases, as well as treating damage to body tissue.

By storing stem cells, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that you’ll be able to use them, should you need to, in the future; these stem cells may also be of help to family members.

Bone marrow transplants are probably the most well known form of stem cell therapies, but scientific advances mean there are now far more conditions which can be treated with stem cells. To date, more than 80 conditions can now be treated using these medical advances.

Take leukemia: its cause is rooted in stem cell activity being disrupted which leads to an excess of abnormal white cells being produced. Using stem cell transplantation, though, this process can be successfully counteracted.

Stem cells are healthier, and are more likely to be successful in future therapies, if they are taken from a donor when he/she is younger and healthier. So the sooner cells are stored, the better chance they can help you. By storing cord blood stem cells, you’re storing the potential for various treatment options in the future. Your family might have genetic predispositions to certain conditions that stem cell therapies may be able to tackle at a later date.

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Success Story

How stem cell treatment can work on acquired brain injuries

by Wideacademy on 18 July, 2017

When Tonya Morris was pregnant with her fifth child she learned about the benefits of cord blood banking for the first time. Knowing the potential benefits it could hold for her family she decided it was the right decision for her baby and family. Tonya gave birth to a healthy little girl named Sparrow, but when Sparrow was just 20 months old the unthinkable happened. Sparrow fell into a pool of water and almost drowned, she was without a pulse for an estimated 47 minutes. The doctors prepared her family for the worst; her brain had been so starved of oxygen she was unlikely to survive…

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Who might be interested in this

  • Parents with children under 10
  • Students of stem cell research
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