Two studies on umbilical cord blood on Autism Spectrum Disorder and heart failure patients have shown great promise for continued application. In one conducted at Universidad de los Andes in Chile, and reported in Circulation Research, the use of donor-provided umbilical cord tissue-derived stem cells in patients with heart failure may lead to notable improvements in heart muscle function and quality of life. The other, conducted at Sutter Medical Center and reported in Stem Cells Journals, documents how the use of a child’s own umbilical cord tissue-derived stem cells may help symptoms of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) by modulating or reducing inflammation and certain immune responses as well as “travel to sites of neurological injury.”
In the Chileans study, thirty patients, ages 18 to 75, with stable heart failure receiving drug therapy underwent infusions with either umbilical cord-derived stem cells (obtained from full-term human placentas from healthy donors by caesarean section after informed consent) or placebo. Those receiving the stem cell treatments showed sustained and “significant” improvement in the hearts’ ability to pump blood in the year following treatment.
In the year-long FDA-regulated clinical trial at Sutter Medical Center, cells found in cord blood were found to have the ability to “modulate or reduce inflammation and certain immune responses as well as travel to sites of neurological injury.” While the exact cause of ASD has never been found, it is believed that a dysfunctional immune system is partially culpable. Cord Blood Registry (CBR) helped fund the study in which twenty-nine children with ASD were given infusions of their own cord blood (stored from birth at CBR) or a placebo to first ascertain the safety and effectiveness of the treatment. At the end of 24 weeks, the the subjects’ infusions were reversed. Researchers at Duke University are currently pursuing a larger study of this type to ascertain if cord blood may become an effective treatment for ASD.