There is convincing evidence that amniotic fluid often treated as medical waste can be a viable source of stem cells, and a means to advance cell therapy and regenerative medicine.
In years past, once the fluid no longer surrounded a baby, it would be handled by hospital staff. Then it'd be stored and shipped to a processing center, shock frozen, and shock thawed, leaving no remaining living materials.
But a team of scientists at Lund University in Sweden have developed a multi-step method, employing an innovative collection device, to safely harvest large quantities of cells.
Scientists have combined fluids from full-term caesarean section deliveries, and millions of caesarean sections, performed worldwide each year.
The valuable stem cells and bioactive molecules surrounding babies were untapped resources of regeneration, but Lund's method can mine these previously unharnessed stem cell reserves.
The collection device constructed from bio-inert plastics and 3D-printing techniques collects up to a liter of amniotic fluid at full-term caesarean deliveries. It only tacks on 90 seconds to the operation while maintaining safety for both mother and child.
The contraption forms a seal with the fetal cavity, making the collection of large volumes of amniotic fluid comfortable and sterile. The device collects and purifies mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) multipotent stromal cells that can differentiate into a variety of cell types such as osteoblasts, chondrocytes, myocytes, and adipocytes.
MSCs have been used to treat immune and inflammatory-mediated diseases, but the difficulty in obtaining adequate numbers of them have stifled their prominence in cell therapies. But full-term amniotic fluid may provide an abundant tissue source, along with making MSC-based therapies readily available for any genetically matched person.
By converting the purified MSCs into an embryonic-like stem cell state, they can also facilitate further regenerative capabilities in other cells, such as neural, blood, and heart cells.
The hope is for more research groups to work with the neo-natal MSC source. With further clinical studies, the better the understanding of amniotic stem cells' full therapeutic scope.
At the very least, with the creation of their collection device, Lund has offered a safe catalyst to fuel further research for their process to be put to work!
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|Tags: Stem Cell Research|