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The umbilical cord: a rich and ethical stem cell source to advance regenerative medicine


C. P. McGuckin, CTI-LYON, Cell Therapy Research Institute, Batiment Cèdre 1, 97 Allée Alexandre Borodine, Parc Technologique de Lyon-St Priest, 69800 St Priest-Lyon, France. Tel.: +33 426 03 01 30; Fax: +04 26 03 02 22; E-mail:


Science and medicine place a lot of hope in the development of stem cell research and regenerative medicine. This review will define the concept of regenerative medicine and focus on an abundant stem cell source – neonatal tissues such as the umbilical cord. Umbilical cord blood has been used clinically for over 20 years as a cell source for haematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Beyond this, cord blood and umbilical cord-derived stem cells have demonstrated potential for pluripotent lineage differentiation (liver, pancreatic, neural tissues and more) in vitro and in vivo. This promising research has opened up a new era for utilization of neonatal stem cells, now used beyond haematology in clinical trials for autoimmune disorders, cerebral palsy or type I diabetes.