Scientists in Korea have made a breakthrough which could lead to the restoration of movement in people with damaged spinal cords.
A team led by Professor Kim Hwi-yool at Konkuk University in Seoul has managed to repair
[Reporter : Jang Ji-yun
email@example.com] "Scientists say they also discovered that the test subject, in this case, the dog that underwent human umbilical cord stem cell therapy, did not exhibit any immune system rejection issues."
Apparently, when stem cells are transferred from one animal to another of the same type it does not cause immune rejection but when human stem cells are injected into canines there's a high chance that the animal will reject the cells.
However this study showed that if stem cells specifically derived from umbilical cord blood are used even if the donor and receiver's species are not the same immunosuppressants aren't needed to have a successful transplant.
[Interview : Kim Hwi-yool Ph.D.
Dept. of Veterinary Surgery at Konkuk Univ.] "It is difficult to apply this method to a patient with severe spinal injury, but for those suffering from acute spinal cord damage, I believe this therapy can be very effective if treated early."
Meanwhile the Seoul Cord Bank which currently stores more than 85-thousand units of umbilical cord blood making it the biggest of its kind in the world recently patented its technique for separating and cultivating stem cells from umbilical cord blood in the US and Europe.
[Interview : Han Hoon MD, Ph.D.
President of Seoul Cord Bank
] "Now that we've acquired this patent in the US and Europe, what this means is that whenever anyone uses our technique for umbilical cord stem cell therapy, they must consult with us before going ahead with their research."
Dr. Han claims Korea is definately one of the leading countries in terms of umbilical cord stem cell research but in order for the country to capitalize on this amazing resource and save more lives he says further investment by the government is crucial.
Jang Ji-yun, Arirang News.