Researchers have already discovered that the mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) contained within umbilical cord blood have remarkable regenerative properties. They are capable of repairing tissue, reducing inflammation, moderating the immune system and much more.
The results of a new phase 1/2a clinical trial suggests that MSCs may also be useful for treating a condition called dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (RDEB). It is an inherited disease which affects the skin and other organs, making them fragile and prone to damage.
The authors of the study found that an injection of MSCs can temporarily reduce pain, itching and blistering associated with RDEB. This could greatly improve the quality of life of RDEB sufferers.
However, the South Korean researchers also suggest that additional research is required to define optimal doses. They will also need to assess the long term effects of stem cell transplants.
Details of the trial were published in the study “Intravenous allogeneic umbilical cord blood–derived mesenchymal stem cell therapy in recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa patients” in the journal JCI Insight.
RDEB is a painful genetic skin disorder which is related to epidermolysis bullosa (EB). It causes the skin to blister and tear easily, resulting in painful wounds and scars.
Researchers have discovered that MSCs are a promising treatment option in recent years after several research papers showed that they can speed up tissue regeneration and reduce scarring.
Mesenchymal stem cells can be obtained from multiple sources including umbilical cord blood and bone marrow. However, cord blood is a particularly useful source of MSCs because there is less risk of rejection by the recipient’s immune system.
The researchers mentioned the advantages of using cord blood, writing: “However, umbilical cord blood (UCB) has become an attractive source of stem cells, because of its non invasive collection procedure and rapid availability from cord blood banking.”