For those competing within the cord blood marketplace, it is valuable to know that umbilical cord blood is the second most common source of stem cells for cellular therapy.
Because it is a rich source of highly primitive hematopoietic stem cells, umbilical cord blood has enormous regenerative potential for stem cell-based-therapy, both for the treatment of hematological and non-hematological disorders. Indeed, with the recent expansion in stem cell research and an increase in public interest in stem cell-based therapies, researchers are now exploring the potential of umbilical cord blood stem cells for non-hematological disorders.
This is evidenced by the increasing number of clinical trials that are utilizing umbilical cord blood stem cell-based therapies to treat a range of diseases.
However, with these advances come new standards that must be established, including:
- Standardization of criteria for the selection of umbilical cord blood (UCB) units for stem cell-based therapies
- Outcome measures
- Long-term follow-up
Additionally, it is controversial within medical communities to use umbilical cord blood stem cells for non-hematological disorders, a perspective which is gradually starting to change. Clearly, therapeutic use of cord blood stem cells will play an important role in the future of regenerative medicine, but its applications and limitations of use have yet to be defined.