Polish-Hungarian cooperation: umbilical cord cells have saved life for the first time in Central Europe.
Mesenchymal stem cells from umbilical cord have been used for the first time in treatment in Central Europe in stem cell transplantations, which took place in Wroczlaw and Katowice Hospitals, Poland due to a Polish-Hungarian cooperation.
The operation that saved three children’s and one adult’s life was supported by the Hungarian KRIO Institute. The first stem cell transplantations in Central Europe that involved mesenchymal stem cells from umbilical cord took place in the Transplantation Department of Wroczlaw and Katowice Hospitals, Poland. It was the FamiCord Group that provided the stem cells for these operations of milestone importance. The mesenchymal stem cells were prepared for the operations in the laboratory of PBKM (Polish Stem Cell Bank) and that of KRIO Institute in Hungary. The Hungarian participation was key to the success of the operation as the KRIO Institute had developed a specific procedure for the freezing and storage of mesenchymal stem cells in the past years, and thus it was among the first in Hungary to receive an official license for this activity last October. Three children and one adult were operated, all of them suffered from Graft-versus-host
disease, where their immune cells in the graft recognized the recipient (the host) as “foreign” then attacked the host’s body cells. “It was a last chance treatment for those patients – said Dariusz Boruczkowski, PhD, transplantologists – as they had been treated with many
commonly used drugs, but without any success. Since no such treatment has ever been applied before in Poland, we needed to obtain the approval of the Polish Bioethical Committee.”
Stem cell transplantation is a commonly used treatment in clinics all across Europe, however only cord blood stem cells have been used yet in Central Europe. It was discovered in recent times that there are stem cells in the umbilical cord (Wharton jelly) as well, the so called
mesenchymal stem cells. These stem cells can regenerate almost all kinds of human tissue, more over they help cord blood stem cells find a home in the body and induce faster recovery. Like cord blood stems cells, mesenchymal stem cells can only be isolated once in a lifetime,