Several studies show that amniotic fluid is a precious source of biological material including stem cells for use in regenerative medicine. A Swedish team has developed a method to safely harvest these cells during elective Caesarean sections. As millions of these procedures take place every year across the globe, the procedure that has been developed paves the way to a hitherto untapped resource of stem cells.
The collection device comprising inert organic plastics produced through 3D printing creates a "joint" with the foetal cavity, which allows the fluid collected (up to 1 litre) to remain sterile. The process takes "90 seconds on average", and is not dangerous for mother and child. The stem cells collected are mesenchymatous stem cells which can also be harvested from other body tissues (bone marrow) and have already proved their therapeutic potential. They can also be reprogrammed into pluripotent cells - hence they can be converted into all types of body cells.
"As soon as we have demonstrated the feasibility of accessing this source of neonatal stem cells, we hope that other research teams will start to work with these cells. This will give us a better idea of the therapeutic potential involved," explains Dr. Niels-Bjarne Woods, the main author of the study.
Medical press (4/12/2017)