Umbilical cord tissue – particularly rich in valuable stem cells
Double stem cell power
The umbilical cord is the lifeline between mother and child. It contains three blood vessels, through which the umbilical cord blood pulses and exchanges oxygen, nutrients and waste products with the placenta. For the blood vessels to withstand the stress and not to bend, they are covered by umbilical cord tissue to protect and support the cord.
The umbilical cord tissue contains a gel-like substance, called Wharton’s Jelly, in which a large number of mesenchymal stem cells are found. The mesenchymal stem cells are particularly interesting to stem cell therapy. By storing umbilical cord blood and umbilical cord tissue, you therefore get double the stem cell power.
Stem cells from umbilical cord tissue
Umbilical cord tissue contains a particularly high concentration of mesenchymal stem cells.
Currently, mesenchymal stem cells are applied in more than 500 clinical studies worldwide, e.g. concerning vascular diseases, autoimmune diseases or joint arthritis. Furthermore, they may inhibit unwanted reactions of the immune system and thus reduce rejections, which may occur e.g. in case of leukemia after the transplantation of allogeneic stem cells.
Today it is starting to show that autologous, mesenchymal stem cells will be applied more often than allogeneic donor stem cells. The fields of research in regenerative medicine are substantial and promising. Medical experts and scientists hope to discover even more extensive therapeutic options using mesenchymal stem cells in the future.
How is the umbilical cord actually frozen?
The process of preserving stem cells from the umbilical cord tissue starts at the birth. After the umbilical cord has been cut and the umbilical cord blood has been collected, the midwife cuts the umbilical cord near the placenta to get a piece that is as long as possible. The umbilical cord tissue is transported to our laboratory along with the umbilical cord blood.
The perfection of the procedures relating to collection, processing and freezing the cord tissue has taken a lot of effort and development time. The process of preserving an entire umbilical cord is even more complex than the cryo-preservation of umbilical cord blood.
“The umbilical cord may be more than 50 centimeters long and the more Vita 34 receives for preservation, the more mesenchymal stem cells can be harvested later.”
Anne Wilhelm, Medical Manager of Production
The greatest challenge when storing umbilical cord tissue is microbial growth. A birth is not sterile. For this not to affect the quality of the stem cell preparation, Vita 34 tries to minimize the bacterial exposure already during transportation. The collection box is most suited for this purpose. It has a special transport container in which the umbilical cord is placed immediately after it has been cut. When the umbilical cord arrives at the laboratory, it is again thoroughly disinfected, cleaned and washed in an effort to ensure that even the last germ has been erased. Then, the umbilical cord is frozen in sections at approximately minus 180 degrees Celsius in a special freezing bag, protected in an aluminum cassette..
Vita 34 is the only provider in the Nordic countries to offer the storage of umbilical cord tissue. By storing umbilical cord blood and umbilical cord tissue, you optimize the number of stem cells that can be procured at the birth.