Upcycling umbilical cords: bridging regenerative medicine with neonatology

Alvaro Moreira, Yasmeen Alayli, Saloni Balgi, Caitlyn Winter, Samuel Kahlenberg, Shamimunisa Mustafa, Peter Hornsby

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Preterm birth is a major health concern that affects 10% of all worldwide deliveries. Many preterm infants are discharged from the hospital with morbidities that lead to an increased risk for neurodevelopmental impairment, recurrent hospitalizations, and life-long conditions. Unfortunately, the treatment of these conditions is palliative rather than curative, which calls for novel and innovative strategies. Progress in regenerative medicine has offered therapeutic options for many of these conditions. Specifically, human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and cord blood (UCB) cells have shown promise in treating adult-onset diseases. Unlike bone-marrow and embryonic derived stem cells, umbilical cord-derived cells are easily and humanely obtained, have low immunogenicity, and offer the potential of autologous therapy. While there are several studies to uphold the efficacy of umbilical cord MSCs in adult therapies, there remains an unmet need for the investigation of its use in treating neonates. The purpose of this review is to provide a summary of current information on the potential therapeutic benefits and clinical applicability of umbilical cord MSCs and UCB cells. Promising preclinical studies have now led to a research movement that is focusing on cell-based therapies for preterm infants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1378-1387
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 18 2019


  • Bronchopulmonary dysplasia
  • hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy
  • mesenchymal stem cells
  • umbilical cord blood

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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