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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Umbilical Cord Stem Cells Work to Restore Immune System Balance in Early Study


                                                                  
  

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October 21, 2016
Damaging immune system defects seen in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) can be repaired using a simple stem cell approach, according to a new study by researchers in China.
Although the origin of MS remains elusive, immune system attacks against myelin is a known hallmark of the disease. In MS patients, immune system cells called T-cells penetrate the brain and react against the myelin coating that protects and supports neurons. Essentially, the T-cells’ activity is  unregulated, something usually mediated by T regulatory cells (Tregs), and contributes to their abnormal aggressiveness.
One possible way to restore T-cell regulation is by using mesenchymal stem cells or MSCs (stem cells are immature cells that can become any type of cell in the body). MSCs are a type of stem cell found in the bone marrow, and have been shown to stimulate the presence of Tregs, thereby controlling the activity of T-cells.
The human umbilical cord has stem cells equivalent to MSCs, called UC-MSCs — these cells are more stable, induce lower immune responses, and have higher expansion ability compared to MSCs.
To understand whether these umbilical cord stem cells could restore the regulation of the immune system in MS, researchers cultured UC-MSCs together with immune system cells present in the blood of MS patients and healthy subjects.
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