Researchers suggest that transplanted stem cells from human umbilical cords may offer a viable treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.

The research team, from Saneron CCEL Therapeutics Inc in Tampa, Fa, injected human umbilical blood cells (HUCBCs) into mice modeled with AD to investigate how the cells are distributed and retained in tissues, including the brain. Their study

found that the transplanted cells migrated to brain tissue, were retained there for up to 30 days, and did not promote the growth of tumors, according to a media release from Cell Transplantation Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair.

The study will be published in a future edition of Cell Transplantation.

According to the study, while the researchers were able to determine that HUCBCs were distributed widely throughout the bodies of the test animals within 24 hours following a single dose of cells, the HUCBCs also appeared to persist in the central nervous system for at least 1 month after transplantation. Additionally, researchers did not find any tumors in the animals that were transplanted with HUCBCs, the release explains.

Their study results showed that even after 30 days, the HUCBCs were “broadly detected both in the brain and several peripheral organs, including the liver, kidneys and bone marrow.” Their findings indicated that a minimally invasive procedure, such as intravenous injection, can be implemented and yield significant therapeutic effects, the release continues.

“HUCBCs may confer therapeutic effects through modulation of the inflammatory response that becomes up-regulated after the onset of AD,” the researchers write in the study, per the release.

“However, delivering the cells presents a challenge due to the need for an invasive procedure, such as intracerebroventricular injection, and concerns about accumulation of the cells in peripheral organs. We found that while some HUCBCs were detectable in peripheral organs, a significant amount were also found in the brain, suggesting that cells were able to cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB),” they add.

[Source(s): Cell Transplantation Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair, EurekAlert]