Stem Cells From Menstrual Blood Show Treatment Potential
Cryo-Cell International announced results of a study published this month in Cell Transplantation showing that stem cells found in menstrual blood proliferate rapidly and have significant potential to develop into multiple cell types. Menstrual stem cells offer an easily accessible, non-controversial and renewable stem cell source, and these findings could mean these cells have the potential to one day treat a host of diseases.
The study, "Multipotent Menstrual Blood Stromal Stem Cells: Isolation, Characterization and Differentiation," was conducted by researchers at Cryo- Cell International who originally discovered the stem cells. According to the study, the stem cells in menstrual blood, known as MenSCs, are stromal stem cells, meaning they have the capability to differentiate into important cells, such as such as bone, cartilage, fat, nerve and cardiogenic cells. The study also found that the cells divided rapidly and plentifully, indicating a possible therapeutic value.
With additional studies of the cells in a variety of categories, the use of these cells may lead to treatments for a number of serious diseases, such as osteoporosis, stroke, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. The cells may even one day be used for customized anti-aging or sports medicine treatments.
"These findings demonstrate that this novel cell population is adequately potent to one day be a routinely and safely isolated source of stem cells," said Julie Allickson, Ph.D., study investigator and Vice President, Laboratory Operations, Research and Development at Cryo-Cell International, Inc. "Clinical trials are now underway to test the safety and efficacy of MenSCs in animal models for diabetes, neurodegenerative and cardiovascular regenerative therapies."
"As we research several sources of stem cells for their potential therapeutic benefits, we look for cells to emulate embryonic stem cells in that they have the ability to grow rapidly and to become many different types of cells," said Dr. Camillo Ricordi, director of the Cell Transplant Center and the Diabetes Research Institute at the University of Miami. "These menstrual stem cells could have several of the embryonic stem cell attributes, in addition to being easily extracted, not controversial and renewable."
During the study, the investigators analyzed shed menstrual blood and tissue to identify MenSCs. The samples were obtained using a menstrual cup and transferred to a laboratory for processing. At the lab, the cells were quality control-tested and grown in culture to allow for expansion and to assess their growth capabilities. Further analyses were conducted to assess the cells' ability to differentiate into new cell lines, in order to determine which diseases the cells may be used to treat. The average cell collection from a sample of menstrual blood was approximately five million, of which 75 percent of the cells were considered viable. Importantly, the cells rapidly expanded at a doubling rate of 24-36 hours, starting with 50,000 cells on day one and culminating into 48 million cells in less than one month.
"This promising study is the first of many we are conducting in collaboration with leading researchers and institutions with the ultimate goal of using these stem cells to develop groundbreaking future treatments," said Mercedes Walton, Cryo-Cell's Chairman and CEO. "These initial findings offer scientific support and validation for women who are interested in preserving their own menstrual blood stem cells for potential future benefit."
Based on the results of the study, Cryo-Cell is pursuing further research into menstrual stem cells. Cryo-Cell is organizing a number of research and development agreements in efforts to develop promising regenerative therapies utilizing C'elle technology in cardiology, diabetes and neurological diseases. Results from these studies are expected in the next year. The Company is actively seeking to expand its portfolio of research collaborations with scientists worldwide interested in studying this novel stem cell population for regenerative therapeutic development. Cryo-Cell's C'elle(SM) service, which was introduced in November, 2007, is the first available product that enables women to collect menstrual flow containing stem cells, which can then be cryogenically preserved in a manner similar to stem cells from umbilical cord blood.