A successful year for the Cryobank: 2019 achievements in the field of storage and use of stem cells

The collection, processing and storage of cord blood stem cells and placenta are the processes without which the development of cell therapy would be impossible. It is the responsible work of cryobanks that guarantees the high viability of stem cells obtained from stored perinatal biological materials (umbilical cord blood, umbilical cord and placenta), due to which treatment of many serious diseases becomes a reality. It is hematopoietic cord blood stem cells that are an alternative to bone marrow stem cells necessary for transplantation to thousands of patients with leukemia. It is cryobanks that provide different types of stem cell drugs for clinical trials and evaluation the possibilities of mesenchymal and hematopoietic stem cells of perinatal tissues in the treatment of diseases, the consequences of injuries, and rehabilitation treatment.

To date, the services of cord blood banks in Ukraine are no longer perceived as an exotic expensive service. Each family can now decide which perinatal tissues to store in the cryobank. If earlier the most popular biobank service was cord blood storage, now more and more families are taking the opportunity to collect and preserve the placenta and umbilical cord as well. This allows to produce unique cell preparations that are effective in a wide range of diseases, recovery from strokes, injuries, in anti-aging therapy. The cryobank of the Institute of Cell Therapy is grateful to the responsible parents who chose our bank to store the most valuable biological materials for their child. 2019 was successful not only for us, but also for the Association of Cryobanks.

1. Storage of the placenta: unique opportunities in Ukraine

The collection and storage of the placenta has a very long history, since in the distant past, people realized that this biological material is very valuable, can help in healing wounds and improve skin condition. Modern medicine and cosmetology have proven the effectiveness of placenta preparations, but only in recent decades stem cells with unique properties have begun to be isolated from it. Their capabilities differ from those possessed by cord blood stem cells. Each type of cell has its own indications for use and is promising in the treatment of various diseases. The cryobank of the Institute of Cell Therapy was able to achieve a high level of quality in the processing of this biological material and became one of the world biobanks with the greatest experience in the manufacturing of placenta drugs (placental extract and mesenchymal stem cell preparations). Our Cryobank produces placenta extract of the highest quality, which allows it to be used even for intravenous administration. For more information about the collection, processing, storage of the placenta and the use of placental preparations, read  in one of our publications.

2. The use of placental stem cells in the treatment of osteoarthrosis

Over the past few years, clinical trials on mesenchymal stem cell (MSCs) drugs in the treatment of degenerative joint diseases have been conducted in different countries of the world. The use of MSCs of the placenta opens up wide opportunities in this area, since the use of donor placenta cells does not require immune matching, and the mesenchymal stem cells themselves have the ability to differentiate into cartilage tissue cells affected by joint destruction. In December 2019, specialists of the Institute of Cell Therapy Cryobank took part in a press conference at which they shared with the interim the results of clinical trials jointly launched in 2019 by the Institute of Cell Therapy and the Institute of Traumatology and Orthopedics of the National Academy of Medical Sciences of Ukraine at the Kiev Clinical Hospital No. 6. In the framework of the trial a study is conducted to elucidate the effectiveness and safety of a biological product containing placental stem cells, produced by Cryobank specialists, in the treatment of knee arthrosis and osteoarthritis of other localizations. The legendary football player, a trainer of the Ukrainian football team Andriy Shevchenko, who needed to treat a damaged knee joint, told reporters about his treatment experience as part of the study. You can read the report on the already known possibilities of mesenchymal stem cells in treatment (LINK TO A NEW ARTICLE) on our website.

3. Clinical trials using cryopreserved human cells and tissues: successful completion

The evaluation of the possibilities and safety of stem cell preparations has been going on for more than one year, and in 2019 several of the trials were successfully completed. In particular, the specialists of the Filatov Institute of Ophthalmology and Tissue Therapy and the Institute of Cell Therapy, who studied the effectiveness of the use of cryopreserved amniotic membranes obtained from the placenta for the treatment of keratitis of infectious and neurotrophic etiology, reported the successful completion of clinical trial. According to the results of research, the use of placental tissue in the treatment of cornea disorders was recognized as an effective innovative method of therapy and will be put into practice. Like all other clinical trials in which the Cryobank of the Institute of Cell Therapy participates, providing cell drugs, this study was conducted under the auspices of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine.

4. Participation in international projects and cooperation with foreign colleagues

Participation in international programs and projects for Cryobank employees is one of the opportunities for continuing education, gaining new experience and exchanging information with foreign colleagues.

  • For several years, the Cryobank of the Institute of Cell Therapy was a member of the transnational scientific project Thymistem, and in 2019 the Institute of Cell Therapy joined the implementation of the international scientific project on the study of perinatal tissues Cost Action CA 17116 in the framework of the European program Horizon 2020, which finances the most promising scientific projects.
  • In 2019, the Cryobank of the Institute of Cell Therapy was a member of the international scientific project “The effect of circulating viral transactivator proteins (HIV-1 TatandEBVZta) on gene expression in B-cell lymphogenesis”, which is funded by a grant in the framework of scientific Ukrainian-French cooperation.
  • In 2019, in the framework of scientific cooperation between Ukraine and France, Ukrainian scientists, Vladimir Shabliy, PhD, a deputy director of Cryobank, head of the stem cell laboratory and Inessa Skripkina, PhD took part in research at the leading European oncological center – Gustav Russi Institute. The research results and experience gained by researchers have contributed to the development of Cryobank and are being implemented in its work.
  • During 2019, the Cryobank of the Institute of Cell Therapy continued cooperation with international professional communities (ISCT – International Society for Cell Therapy, IPLASS – International Placenta Stem Cells Society, IFPA – International Federation of Placenta Associations, ISSCR – International Stem Cell Research Society). Researchers of Cryobank had the opportunity to improve their qualification, learning from foreign colleagues and put new skills into practice in Ukraine, as well as shared their own experiences.

The Cryobank of the Institute of Cell Therapy remains a leading research center with the ability to produce various types of cell preparations used in clinical trials in collaboration with leading medical institutions in Ukraine. For clinical trials, drugs made from stem cells of umbilical cord blood and placenta are used. Recall that Cryobank also stores more than 12,000 samples of umbilical cord blood and placenta, which are preserved for their own needs by Ukrainian families. More and more future parents are making an important decision: to collect and preserve perinatal tissues (umbilical cord blood, placenta, umbilical cord) for further processing and receiving stem cells and placental extract, which in the future can be used not only by the child, but also by its relatives. Biological materials stored in the stem cell bank are insurance against the development of many diseases, including such common ones as osteoarthritis, diabetes mellitus  viral hepatitis. This is also a real chance to help the body not grow old for a long time .