Stem cells are saving millions of lives right now around the world. Storage of umbilical cord blood stem cells is becoming an increasingly common phenomenon globally, and experts in the field of regenerative medicine indicate that they successfully treat about a hundred diseases, from minor injuries to the most serious diseases, such as leukemia.
Stem cells in Italy
Currently, at the oldest hospital in Milan, Ospedale mađore polikliniko, state-of-the-art clinical trials of stem cells are performed. 20 samples from 21 gynecological centers in Italy are delivered daily because it exists within the public bank where those cells are kept.
Director of the Research Foundation, Dr. Lorenza Lazari which is one of the most recognized experts in the field of regenerative medicine, said during the visit of journalists from Serbia to that hospital that, thanks to stem cells preserved from the umbilical cord, damaged tissues can be successfully treated or repaired.
According to her, stem cells can also be used to treat people with severe heart disease successfully. Thus, waiting lists for such interventions are relieved in Italy. Thanks to the fact that stem cells are useful in treatment, Dr. Lazar designed their multiplication to make the treatment success rate even better.
She said that leaving stem cells in public banks in Italy is becoming more frequent and that their application is wide, so every region in that country has at least one bank of such cells.
“Currently, there are about 9,000 samples of umbilical cord cells within the public bank in the hospital in Milan, which are useful for treating many diseases,” she said, adding that they can also be taken from bone marrow, fat, liver, teeth …
According to her, they are the most useful stem cells from the umbilical cord, the so-called “mesenchymal cells,” because the practice has shown that the survival rate thanks to them is 70 percent, and in those used from the bone marrow, 30 percent.
Lazari added that thanks to the use of these cells, it is possible to survive premature babies whose lungs are underdeveloped and children with diabetes. Damaged liver tissue can also return to the initial phase, she stated
Stem cells in the region
When it comes to regenerative medicine in Serbia and the surrounding countries, for now, only in Serbia and Albania, there is still no public bank. Still, interested citizens can keep stem cells in private foreign banks.
They usually do that in the Belgian bank “Cryo-Save,” whose representatives state that an increasing number of citizens are interested in this method and decide to save those cells.
The procedure costs about 1. 700 euros, and some of the banks provided loans to citizens for that, while for those who already have sick family members, free storage of cells in a Belgian bank was provided.
Research associate “Cryo save” Dr. Mima Fazlagić explained to the journalists that they have been waiting for a year for the legal regulations which would be approved for the occasion blood sampling. He also took five centimeters of umbilical cord tissue to get even more cells.
She stated that many maternity hospitals in Serbia, especially in larger cities, have the Ministry of Health’s approval that cells can be taken during childbirth and added that it is essential to establish a public bank and a scientific research center.
According to her, stem cells are stored in special bunkers on liquid nitrogen at a temperature of minus 196 degrees Celsius, and their storage is unlimited.
Stem cell use
Stem cells obtained from the umbilical cord are the stem cells of that child. That is, they are completely immunologically identical to it.
It will most likely stem cells suitable for another person with the closest relatives, i.e., born siblings. With the parents, and before any use with another person, a matching check must be performed, the so-called HLA typing, to determine whether the recipient is immunologically matched to the donor.
The hospital in Milan, which journalists from Serbia visited, is the oldest in Italy and was built in the 15th century. Century, and it is known to the general public that Leonardo da Vinci designed exercises in anatomy in it.
It was the Center for the Treatment of Infectious Diseases, where patients were delivered by boat in the distant past. The patients who died in the meantime were then laid in the hospital yard, and today their bones are kept in the basement of that medical institution.
Within the hospital, Ospedale mađore polyclinic in 1992. A public stem cell bank was established in 2006, and the first transplant was performed seven years later.
Stem cells: There will be a cure for everything
More than two thousand citizens in Serbia decided to save their stem cells after giving birth in one of the European private banks, whose representative offices are located in our country.
Thus, they gave a chance to themselves, but also to their relatives, to be cured in case they get sick leukemia, get some blood and immune disorders, and even to restore their heart muscle, liver, or some other organ.
While the number of private banks is increasing in our country, where stem cells are “deposited” by citizens only for their own needs, the plan is to open the first public bank in Serbia, where donors will not care who uses their stem cells, but awareness is important. To save someone’s life!
– In our country, 2009. years formed family umbilical cord blood bank, because the parents of children suffering from hematological and oncological diseases, where transplantation is almost the only form of treatment, are interested in leaving umbilical cord blood cells at the birth of another child – explains Dr. Dragana Vujić, head of the Bone Marrow Transplant Service and Laboratory for cryobiology of the Institute for Mother and Child “Dr. Vukan Cupic.”
Stem cells are found in many tissues in adults but are most abundant in the blood and bone marrow.
According to our interlocutor, when the first public stem cell bank in Serbia is opened, it is planned to store up to 10,000 samples, considering the number of births, the need for transplantation, and the number of inhabitants.
According to official data, there are more than 450,000 umbilical cord blood samples in public banks globally, and more than 20,000 transplants have been performed in the last twenty years.
– They are only public and family banks medically justified. Chances are I am a donor utilize stem cells given to a private bank are 0.04 percent. Thus, the formation of private banks was banned in Italy and France. In Russia, due to the rejuvenation of stem cells, there was an increase in the number of patients with tumors, which is characteristic of children.