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Cell Technologies from Belly Button
December 3, 2008 16:59

Russian Institute of Human Stem cells (Hemabank) celebrated 5th anniversary by developing new cell technology on the basis of cord blood. Hemabank is the combination of storage for cell materials and laboratories, where scientists create technologies for isolating stem cells form cord blood, collected at child’s delivery. Stem cell storage was established 5 years ago in Russian oncology science centre.

Stem cells of cord blood are some kind of a reserve of newborn’s genetic material, which is stored in original containers under temperature of 193 degrees centigrade below zero. Such spare material is essential for treating burns and injuries, leukemia, if necessary. Nearest future of cell technologies promises curing of diabetes, ischemic heart disease, heart stroke, apoplectic attack, autoimmune diseases, liver cirrhosis and etc.

Today only 0.33% of child deliveries in Russia were accompanied with taking cord blood for further isolation and storage of stem cells. Compare this figure with Germany (1.9%) and the United States (5%).

Russia now has four banks of stem cells. First is donor bank, containing “anonymous” cells for transplanting to any recipient, who fits them genetically. Cell collection of Russian donor bank is not very large, and finding genetically compatible material there can be quite difficult, Hemabank’s director says. Due to some reasons, Russian donor bank is not included into world network of stem cell donor banks and is not able to exchange cell materials with them. Moreover, medics say that transplantation of donor cells is only 30% of successful treatment.



In 2007 over 8000 transplantations of stem cells from cord blood took place all over the world, and 900 of them – in Europe. In Russia only 12 transplantations were performed since 2001, and only four medical centres have facilities for such operations. Such a small number of transplantations can be explained by the lack of official regulations of this issue in our country till 2003. Even today laws on manipulations with stem cells lack a number of government regulations for introduction of these technologies to clinical practice. Moreover, many centres of transplantology have no experience working with cord blood banks, and the state doesn’t support these centres either with funding, or with organizational activities. Medics claim the Russian has no qualified professional in this field, and that is the reason why not a single cell technology was registered in our country during past five years.

The technique for isolating stem cells from cord blood was developed in Russian oncology science centre together with Hematology science centre of Russian Academy of Medical Sciences. The technique was improved in the Institute of Stem Cells, standardized and is currently under registration procedures.

One of the latest developments of the Institute of Stem Cells is the technology for extraction of endotheliocytes from cord blood, which was created in cooperation with the Institute of General Genetics of Russian Academy of Sciences. Endotheliocytes are precursors of tissues, forming inner vessel walls. Such cells are perspective for forming blood vessels, including coronary vessels, which can replace collapsed ones. Russian medics also patented the technology for extraction of fibroblasts (main cells of connective tissue) from cord blood. Fibroblasts synthesize tropocollagen – precursor of collagen – and intercellular matrix. Researchers successfully formed tissues from these cells and submitted patent application for treating ischemic heart disease.

Source: Science & Life

Kizilova Anna

Tags: Russian technologies     

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