Perinatal stem cells are an invaluable resource of mesenchymal stem cells. Developmentally staged between an embryonic stem cell and an adult stem cell, these cells deserve their own classification of stem cells as they share characteristics of both embryonic and adult cells. As such, perinatal stem cells have greater therapeutic potential and developmental capabilities than traditional sources of adult stem cells. Perinatal stem cells have been found in the amnion, amniotic fluid, cord blood, cord tissue, placental blood and the placenta, and are easily harvested at the time of delivery. While more research is needed to explore the applications of these new sources of stem cells, moderator Kyle Cetrulo, CEO, Auxocell Laboratories, along with Drs. Thomas Koob PhD, Chief Scientific Officer, MiMedx, and John Wagner MD, Co-Director, Center for Translational Medicine University of Minnesota, discussed the vast potential of perinatal stem cells currently being explored during the World Stem Cell Summit in Atlanta, GA.
During this session, the speakers highlighted the application of the amniotic sac for treatment of pressure ulcers, chronic wounds, and burns. Perinatal stem cells appear to improve wound healing, particularly in those wounds which are long-standing and difficult to treat. These cells may have capabilities in protecting and stimulating the repair of tissues by releasing a signal to nearby cells, known as paracrine signaling, to induce a change in behavior and promote differentiation and regeneration. The advantages to using human amniotic tissue are that the tissue is readily available, easily collected at the time of a scheduled C-section, can be used straight from storage without worrying about proper thaw procedures or preparation and, according to MiMedx, is stable at room temperature for up to five years following processing, thereby eliminating the need for costly liquid nitrogen storage as is done with other cell types.
Researchers have also begun using perinatal stem cells in surgery due to the powerful regenerative affects these cells have on bone and tissue engineering. For example, perinatal stem cells are currently being studied in craniofacial bone regeneration. The future for the therapeutic use of perinatal stem cells is exciting, and we look forward advances in this area of stem cell research.
For more information, check out the Perinatal Stem Cell Society website.