Americans are in broad support of more stem cell research, according to the results of an online survey released by Cord Blood Registry (CBR) to coincide with National Cord Blood Awareness Month.
The poll included responses from 1,130 individuals and revealed their belief in the need for continued research to rapidly bring stem cell therapies to the clinic; their level of awareness and understanding of umbilical cord blood as a source of stem cells; and their familiarity with the use of cord blood stem cells in established and experimental therapies.
The survey found nearly nine of 10 respondents either agree or strongly agree that further research should be conducted to investigate the potential of stem cells to stimulate the body's own repair mechanisms to heal tissues or organs. In addition, more than 75% of respondents are aware of stem cell research to develop more effective treatments for conditions and diseases such as Alzheimer's, brain injury and cancer. And 80% of respondents believe in the medical benefits of stem cell research and would like to learn more about therapeutic strategies that augment, repair, replace or regenerate organs and tissues.
Other key findings include:
Because a person's own (autologous) stem cells can be infused back into that individual without being rejected by the body's immune system, autologous cord blood stem cells have become an increasingly important focus of regenerative medicine research. Regenerative medicine is the process of replacing or regenerating human cells, tissues or organs to restore or establish normal function. It is estimated that nearly one in three people in the U.S. may benefit from regenerative medicine therapy.
Researchers are exploring the use of cord blood stem cells in a number of regenerative medicine applications, such as cardiovascular repair to observe whether cells selectively migrate to injured cardiac tissue, enhance blood flow at the site of injury, and improve overall heart function. Additionally, researchers are investigating central nervous system therapies to assess whether cells migrate to the area of brain injury alleviating mobility related symptoms and repair damaged brain tissue, such as that experienced with cerebral palsy. It is believed cord blood stem cells will be an important resource as medicine advances toward harnessing the body's own cells for treatment.