October 12, 2015

Rotator cuff tendon tear is a common cause of chronic shoulder pain and disability in adults today. However, it is possible that stem cells collected through umbilical cord tissue banking could be feasible in effectively treating this injury. Though cord tissue benefits are not currently available for human treatment, animal models have been promising in many cases.

In one instance, doctors examined the results when using human mesenchymal stem cells taken from umbilical cord tissue to regenerate a full-thickness rotator cuff tendon tear in a rabbit model. This therapy was ultrasound-guided and examined the gross morphology and histology of the tendon that was injected with cord tissue stem cells.

Four weeks after the injection, seven out of ten full-thickness subscapularis tendon tears had improved to the point that they were only partial-thickness tears. The other three remained full-thickness tears. The overall tendon tear size and walking capacity of the rabbit had improved significantly due to the injection of cord tissue stem cells utilizing ultrasound guidance without surgical repair or bioscaffold. The histology revealed that the umbilical cord tissue cells induced regeneration of rotator cuff tendon tear and that the regenerated tissue was predominantly composed of type I collagens.

The results of this study reveal one of the latest potential cord tissue benefits. The injection of these cord tissue cells with the guidance of an ultrasound may be a viable conservative treatment method for full-thickness rotator cuff tendon tear.

Though mesenchymal stem cells collected from cord tissue are shown in this instance and many others to have many benefits, they are not yet authorized for use in human treatments. However, expecting parents can still choose cord tissue banking at the birth of their child, a smart choice as it is very likely that cord tissue treatments will become commonplace in the future. Currently, cord blood banking preserves stem cells that can be used to treat more than 80 diseases. Because new research is ongoing, saving your baby’s cord tissue in addition to cord blood is a solid investment in the future of your child’s health.

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