Where are stem cells used

Stem cells from umbilical cord blood were successfully used for the first time in 1988 in France. A few years later, this source of stem cells was applied in Poland. In 2007, umbilical cord blood stored at PBKM was first used in a transplantation. By 2015, stem cells from cord blood were administered over 40 000 times worldwide to save lives and improve health.

Transplantation of stem cells from umbilical cord blood is a natural procedure during bone marrow transplantation. Stem cells from umbilical cord blood have more advantages than stem cells found in bone marrow, which is why they are used more frequently to save lives. Similarly to bone marrow, cord blood can be used for autologous use (for a child from whom umbilical cord blood was collected) or allogeneic (for another person – e.g. a sibling). Currently, cord blood transplantations are being performed more frequently among siblings than autologously. Stem cells derived from the bone marrow, account for around 60% of all transplantations performed.

The first effective and well-documented family cord blood transplant was performed in 1988 in Paris at Prof. E Gluckman’s clinic at the initiative of American doctors Hall Broxmeyer and Joanna Kurtzberg. The recipient of the transplant was a boy, residing in the United States, suffering from congenital Fanconi anaemia. He had stem cells transplanted from the cord blood of his newborn sister.

Medicine is advancing day by day and the number of diseases whereby stem cells can be used as a standard medical treatment is constantly growing.

Stem cells are used for transplants. This type of cell has the unique ability to repair damaged cells (e.g. defected bone marrow in the case of leukaemia) and thus save lives. This method of treatment has already become a routine modality worldwide. In Poland, it is estimated that per year, 800-1000 people (both children and adults) undergo stem cell therapy.