What are stem cells?
Stem cells are master cells that have the potential of becoming any type of cell in the body. One of the main characteristics of stem cells is their ability to self-renew or multiply while maintaining the potential to develop into other types of cells. Stem cells can become cells of the blood, heart, bones, skin, muscles, and brain etc. There are different sources of stem cells but all types of stem cells have the same capacity to develop into multiple types of cells.
1. Cord blood stem cells
The type of stem cell that is rich in umbilical cord blood is the same type that is rich in bone marrow. This type of stem cell gives rise to all the other blood cells and is the foundation of our bodies’ immune system.
White Cells: Fight infections
Red Cells: Carry oxygen
Platelets: Promote clotting and wound healing
Umbilical cord blood is the blood that remains in the vein of the umbilical cord and placenta at the time of birth. Cord blood is rich in stem cells and our stem banking service collects, processes and preserves these stem cells for potential medical use. Cord blood stem cells have been used to treat nearly 80 diseases with over 30,000 transplants worldwide.
2. Cord Tissue Stem Cells
The umbilical cord itself is a rich source of stem cells termed mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). Mesenchymal stem cells have many unique functions including the ability to inhibit inflammation following tissue damage, to secrete growth factors that aid in tissue repair, and to differentiate into many cell types including neural cells, bone cells, fat cells and cartilage. MSCs are increasingly being utilized in regenerative medicine for a wide range of conditions including heart and kidney disease, ALS, wound healing and autoimmune diseases.
3. Stem Cells from umbilical cord lining
Umbilical cord lining is the membrane that covers the umbilical cord. The baby’s umbilical cord lining contains high numbers of Epithelial (EpSCs) and Mesenchymal (MSCs) stem cells which have shown immense potential in aiding the repair of injured tissues and organs and the treatment of various diseases. EpSCs form the soft tissues that connect, support, or surround other structures and organs of the body including cornea, skin, and liver. MSCs are the building blocks of structural tissues of our body such as bone, cartilage, muscle, fibrous tissues and fat.
Medicine is advancing steadily. Stem cell research has been the foundation of regenerative medicine which has the potential to transform medicine. It is estimated that 1 in 3 people may benefit from regenerative medicine. The optimal conditions to isolate and treat MSCs for clinical use are still being developed.
Prof. Phan Toan Thang, Chief Scientist of the Cell Research Corporation (CRC) in Singapore, is the first person to have discovered the large stem cell resource from umbilical cord lining. His wife, Mrs Nguyen Ngoc Anh, is the current President and CEO of Kencare Group.
Cord blood and Cord tissue stem cells do not have patents, however, Cord lining stem cells have patents and require the permission of CRC to be storaged or used.
KenCare in charges of stem cell banking and other business which relates to CRC’ patents in Vietnam.