Professor Colin McGuckin (pictured), chair in regenerative medicine at Newcastle University and the Fondation Jérôme Lejeune in Paris, has announced the formation of a new venture, 'Novussanguis,' to promote responsible research on cord blood and adult stem cells. Some 200 international participants were invited to the launch of the consortium at the Medical School of University Paris Descartes in France.
Novussanguis will try to help those patients who could benefit from treatment with adult and cord blood stem cells. Adult stem cells can be harvested from several human tissues such as brain, bone marrow, peripheral blood, liver, cornea, retina, pancreatic cells, and umbilical cord blood. With over 130 million births per year world-wide, cord blood is a particularly important source of readily available stem cells because of ease of access and supply. Stem cells play a key role in research for treatment of several diseases. Today, over 80 diseases can be treatable with cord blood stem cells. Most of these are linked to the blood system (e.g. leukemia) or the immune system ('babies in a bubble'), but are also applicable to diseases affecting the bone marrow, nervous system, heart, or metabolism such as juvenile diabetes.
The processing of cord blood and cells involves using high specification machines and technology in the laboratory. Professor McGuckin's laboratory at Newcastle, England, utilizes Planer freezers and many other clinical and research laboratories around the world use the special freezers from the London-based company. Controlled rate freezers are used to pre-cool valuable samples before storage in ultra cold liquid nitrogen - so that when thawed the viability of the cells is optimum.
The Novussanguis consortium is a platform of researchers - initially consisting of 15 laboratories. The first projects to be financed by Novussanguis will carry out research on nervous tissues damaged by strokes; pancreatic tissues that can produce insulin in vitro for diabetes research; cardiac tissues damaged by a myocardial infarction; epithelial tissues to improve treatment of wound healing; cornea, nervous tissues, bone, cartilage, tendons, and blood vessels for orthopedic applications; epigenetic profiling of cord blood stem cells to improve tissue engineering; and, expansion and clinical cryo-preservation of cord blood stem cells.
By using this shared network of knowledge, Novussanguis hopes to accelerate advancements in stem cell research. The information gained can then filter down through its network and be used to maximum effect wherever possible.
Illustration: The Word.
Medical News Today (05/12/08)
Google Medical Health Articles (05/15/08)
Fondation Jérôme Lejeune, Paris