Umbilical cord blood: A unique source of pluripotent stem cells for regenerative medicine

David T. Harris, Ian Rogers

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations


It is estimated that almost 1 in 3 individuals in the United States might benefit from regenerative medecine therapy. Unfortunately, embryonic stem (ES) cell therapies are currently limited by ethical, political, biological and regulatory hurdles. Thus, for the foreseeable future, the march of regenerative medicine to the clinic will depend upon the development of non-ES cell therapies. Current sources of non-ES cells easily available in large numbers can be found in the bone marrow, adipose tissue and umbilical cord blood. Each of these types of stem cells has already begun to be utilized to treat a variety of diseases. This review will show that cord blood (CB) contains multiple populations of ES-like and other pluripotential stem cells, capable of giving rise to hematopoietic, epithelial, endothelial, and neural tissues both in vitro and in vivo. Cumulatively, the identification and isolation of these populations of pluripotent stem cells within cord blood represents a scientific breakthrough that could potentially impact every field of medicine, via their use in regenerative medicine. Thus, CB stem cells are amenable to treatment of a wide variety of diseases including cardiovascular, hepatic, ophthalmic, orthopaedic, neurological and endocrine diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)301-309
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent Stem Cell Research and Therapy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2007


  • Pluripotent
  • Regenerative medicine
  • Stem cells
  • Tissue engineering
  • Umbilical cord blood

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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