Umbilical cord blood cures inflammatory bowel disease in newborns

Little Zhao Jiaxin was the first child in China who was carried out a transplant of the umbilical cord blood for treatment of the genetic form of inflammatory bowel disease, which is often the cause of death in newborns.

Yet at the age of 8 days, little Zhao, who was born in 2015,  manifested diarrhea. The same symptoms caused the death of her sister at the age of 5 months. “We were very afraid to lose her too” – said the girl’s mother.

A genetic test showed that the child suffered from the inflammatory bowel disease with very early onset. This disease is caused by hereditary genetic mutation.

The deficiency of the gene responsible for the production of immunosuppressive interleukin-10 leads to a disturbance in the immune system of the intestine. This disease was for the first time reported in 2009, its manifestations are gut abscesses and fistulae.

“The only effective method of treatment of the inflammatory bowel disease in newborns is stem cell transplant,” explains Dr. Huang Young, director of the department of digestive system diseases at the Fudan Children’s Hospital in an interview with the Shanghai Daily. “Transplantation can “repair” a genetic defect and take control over the symptoms of the disease” – says the doctor.

Little Zhao became one of the first 9 patients to undergo cord blood transplant for inflammatory bowel disease with very early manifestations caused by insufficiency of interleukin-10 at the Children’s Hospital of the Fudan University. The age of young patients ranged from 6 to 43 months, and the weight ranged from 3 to 10.4 kg. The feces of patients got normal within 1-3 months after the transplant.

This story was widely covered by Chinese newspapers. When little Zhao returned from the hospital home, the mother of the girl joyfully exclaimed: “I remember her at the age of 100 days, when she was like a skeleton, and now she’s almost got a puffy face!”

A scientific article on the success of Fudan University scientists in the treatment of inflammatory bowel diseases in newborns was officially published in 2018.


The list of diseases that are successfully treated by umbilical cord blood stem cells is constantly expanding. Today, the Cryobank of the Institute of Cell Therapy is the undisputed leader in the supply of cord blood stem cell transplants and placental drugs to state clinics in Ukraine within the framework of clinical trials under the auspices of the Coordination Center for the Transplantation of Organs, Tissues and Cells of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine. Storage of the umbilical cord blood, placenta and umbilical cord in the Cryobank provides the baby and other family members with an additional health reserve for many years to come.