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Alzheimer's Slowed by Stem Cells From Umbilical Cord Blood

Stem Cells and Development, March 30, 2008

More than 5 million people in the U.S. alone are currently afflicted with Alzheimer's disease, and the global number is increasing dramatically each year. Now, researchers at the University of South Florida, in collaboration with Saneron CCEL Therapeutics, Inc., an affiliate of Cryo-Cell International, have demonstrated the ability of cord blood stem cells to slow the progression of this debilitating disease.

In this study, mice with symptoms mimicking those of Alzheimer's were treated with a series of infusions containing stem cells derived from umbilical cord blood. The scientists then tested the mice for the two main markers of Alzheimer's, and found that the myloid-beta proteins had been reduced by 62%, and cerebral amyloid angiopathy had been reduced by 86%. Currently, Alzheimer's disease is considered to be irreversible since an effective conventional medical therapy does not exist. This study, however, demonstrates that Alzheimer's disease can in fact be reversed with the potency of certain types of adult stem cells such as those derived from umbilical cord blood.

Although conservative groups often promote the use of adult stem cells over embryonic stem cells for ethical reasons, scientists are increasingly turning to adult stem cells over embryonic stem cells purely for scientific reasons. Increasingly, studies such as this indicate significant success with adult stem cells while embryonic stem cells still remain plagued with numerous unsolved scientific problems. According to Mercedes Walton, Chairman and CEO of Cryo-Cell International, an organization of cord blood banks which funded the study, "The scientific community has only skimmed the surface in uncovering the many potential therapeutic uses for cord blood stem cells, and this new research in Alzheimer's disease may pave the way for discoveries around the use of these cells for a host of neurodegenerative and other chronic conditions."

According to Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, a senior fellow in economics at the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty, "The use of umbilical cord blood is more humane than the use of embryos for two reasons. First, no human life has to be destroyed to produce the umbilical cord blood. Second, the use of umbilical cord blood will undoubtedly be less costly than the use of embryonic stem cells. The supply of umbilical cords is pretty much umlimited."

Ever since 2004 when a South Korean woman who had been paralyzed for 20 years was able to walk again following cord blood stem cell therapy which repaired the damaged tissue in her spine, this particular source of adult stem cells has been a topic of of intense interest by numerous researchers and clinicians around the world. According to Cryo-Cell, cord blood offers one of the most viable sources of stem cells, as cord blood has already been used in over 7,000 transplantations since 1988, and stem cells derived from cord blood have been clinically administered to human patients for the treatment of more than 70 life-threatening illnesses, which include cardiac injury, neurological injury, type I diabetes, type II diabetes, leukemia, multiple sclerosis, and numerous other types of diseases and injuries.

Next, Alzheimer's disease may also be added to the list.



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