Human Umbilical Cord Blood Stem Cells Form Bone, Nerve, Heart Cells (ViaCell, 7/04)

Novel Unrestricted Somatic Stem Cells (USSCs) offer potential medical breakthrough — ViaCell, Inc., a cellular therapy company dedicated to enabling the widespread application of human cells as medicine, and the IntÂ’l NETCORD Fdn, the leading international network of public umbilical cord blood banks, announced the publication of a peer-reviewed article in The Journal of Experimental Medicine (JEM).  For the first time, using novel cells found in human umbilical cord blood, researchers have shown the ability to grow bone, cartilage, hematopoietic (blood), neural, liver and heart tissue in in vivo studies.  The article is entitled, “A new human somatic stem cell from placental cord blood with intrinsic pluripotent differentiation potential”, 19July 2004 issue, vol. 200, no. 2, of JEM. Dr. Peter Wernet, the President of NETCORD, commented, “To our knowledge, we are the first group to demonstrate that neonatal somatic stem cells [i.e., stem cells from newborn babies] can be robustly expanded in vitro under pharmaceutical conditions to very large numbers and can differentiate, in vivo, into a number of tissue types and take on the properties and specific functions of the cells in those tissues.”  This discovery was made by Dr. Wernet, Dr. G. Koegler and scientists at ViaCell. This article describes the isolation and expansion of ViaCell’s proprietary USSC from human umbilical cord blood.  This cell type can be expanded in number under culture conditions published in the article.  The USSC has demonstrated a capacity to turn into several different cell types in vivo, including brain, bone, cartilage, liver, heart, and blood cells.  Previous experimental and clinical work has demonstrated the presence of blood-forming (hematopoietic) stem cells in...