This chapter focuses on the functional characteristics of cord blood stem and progenitor cells for proliferation, self-renewal, and homing, three important functions for clinical transplantation. The enhanced frequency and quality of hematopoietic stem cells in cord blood at the birth of a baby has endowed cord blood with the capacity to cure a variety of malignant and genetic disorders. Cord blood transplantation works in both children and adults, but it has been used mainly in children because of the apparent limiting numbers of stem-progenitor cells in single cord blood collections. Being able to ex vivo expand and/or increase the homing efficiency of stem cells from cord blood would increase the usefulness and applicability of cord blood for transplantation. Although attempts at ex vivo expansion of stem cells for clinical cord blood transplantation have been disappointing this far, new information regarding factors and intracellular signaling molecules involved in the regulation of hematopoietic stem cell activity and in the growth of embryonic stem cells (which may be translatable to hematopoietic stem cells), as well as advancements in understanding and manipulating the homing capacities of stem cells, offers hope that one may soon be ready to enhance stem cell transplantation in general and cord blood stem cell transplantation in particular.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)