Stem cells – The key element for future transplantology

Research in the field of cellular technologies can lead to a new understanding of the development and differentiation of cells: their ability to transform into various types of cells and fabrics. In case of illness or wound stem cells can be used to restore or replace damaged fabric.

However, to achieve successful results of transplantation and treatment of such significant diseases as Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, leukemia, diabetes, stroke, muscular dystrophy, hepatic and renal failure etc., optimum methods have to be developed to obtain stem cells and their cultivation. Such a problem is successfully solved by scientists from Kazakhstan – employees of the Research-and-production enterprise “Antigen” under the direction of Project Manager Kaulambaeva Marzhan Zakanovna, head of the “Celluar cultures and culture medium” department. The research is supported actively by the International Science and Technology Center.

The final goal of the project is the creation of a hemopoietic stem cell bank collated from the marrow of an adult and the blood of newborn babies’ umbilical cords. Such a bank has a number of advantages compared with a bank of umbilical cord blood of newborn children and a bank of possible marrow donors. “First of all, during cell cultivation in vitro the concentration of the stem cells in the transplantant increases, thus increasing its biological value,” says Project Manager and Candidate of Biology Kaulambaeva Marzhan Zakanovna. “Secondly, during stem cell cultivation their antigenic properties decrease. Thus the degree of compatibility of donor stem cells and recipients increase, allowing us to avoid graft rejection by the organism, a frequent problem in the bone marrow transplantation of an adult. Thirdly, possessing a sample of stem cells, it is possible to easily restore and, upon subsequent cultivation to accumulate their reserve, if required for a constantly “a renewed material”.

The unique opportunity to collect samples of cells from the various ethnic minorities living within Kazakhstan, undoubtedly raises the value of such a stem cell bank, and, if necessary, it will be possible to deliver cells in any country of the world at the request of any marrow transplantation center.

The project consists of three basic stages. At the initial stage we gather umbilical cord blood. It is established, that if the period of time from the moment of birth to the separation of a newborn child from the placenta is no more than 30 seconds the collected volume of blood, on average, is 25-40ml more than at later separation. The early separation of the child from the placenta has no negative consequences for the newborn. Containers for gathering blood are filled with special preservatives and anticoagulants. The second stage involves checking samples for sterility, in other words checking for the presence of microorganisms or viruses with the application of various nutrient mediums and the polymer chain reaction method. At the final stage cryoconservation of stem cells is performed for long-term storage. During cryoconservation optimum conditions will be developed for long-term storage of stem cells of marrow and blood of newborn children’s umbilical cords with the application of various concentrations of cryoprotectors.

Successful realization of each stage is the guarantee of successfully obtaining stem cells, their cultivation, and their subsequent application, and the developed techniques will be able to successfully combat diseases that are currently considered incurable.

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