About this Research Topic
Cord blood is a widely used source of hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) transplants. Despite multiple limitations the number of unrelated cord blood transplants (CBT) are steadily increasing. Low HSC content initially limited CBTs to pediatric patients. Later double CBTs became a source of HSC transplantation for adults who are not well represented within donor registries and thus lack an HLA identical donor. As a result CBT is one of the tools to overcome HLA barriers, very similar to haploidentical transplants. Although previously regarded as an advantage, mismatched transplants and using one log less HSCs cause infectious complications or engraftment delays. Scientific improvements towards ex vivo expansion and engraftment enhancing methods are now becoming widely recognized. These promising tools can overcome the major challenges arising from transplantation of insufficient number of HSCs. Contributions to this research topic will describe the current "cord blood transplantation: state of art" and recent tools that will increase the utility of CBUs among many patients seeking cure for hematological diseases. Furthermore cord blood has also a potential for induction of pluripotent cells which may have regenerative potential. Lack of complete regeneration of certain cells such as neurons, cardiac and hepatic tissue following injury is still an unmet need leading to thousands of deaths every year. Various attempts to repair adult tissues with cord blood cells have been successful in pre-clinical models. Pharma has demonstrated a growing interest in developing novel techniques to implement cord blood cells into clinics for regenerative purposes. CBBs can be a good source for obtaining NK or progenitors to be stored and further used “off the shelf” on demand. The immunologically naïve nature of cord blood cells in addition to their long telomers constitute this “off the shelf” potency. Furthermore, cord blood is easily accessible and capacity is not a limitation compared to stem cell sources of adult origin. Finally, cord blood harbour stem cells closest to fetal life and lack ethical concerns. Recent methodological advances have enabled harvest of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells from CB and is now accepted as a new potential application.
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