Since our discovery of Epithelial- and Mesenchymal Stem Cells in the mammalian umbilical cord lining, we have developed unique techniques for processing these stem cells for optimal potency. Our patents cover “mammalian umbilical cord lining”, and we work on both human and animal derived stem cells. 

 

Through our subsidiaries, CordLabs Pte Ltd and CordLabs Asia Pte Ltd, we are licensing our proprietary technology for harvesting and storing of umbilical cord lining tissue to our cord blood bank partners. Only our licensed partners are able to provide parents who wish to store their baby’s cord lining tissue with the assurance that their tissue can be used for therapies when needed. All cord lining tissue banked with our partners will be included in the Global Cord Registry, and only tissue registered therein will be legally available for therapies.

 

What are Cord Lining Stem Cells?

 

The cord lining is the outermost layer of the umbilical cord that forms the connection between a baby and its mother. After a child is born, the umbilical cord is typically discarded as medical waste. However, scientists have discovered that the umbilical cord is in fact very rich in stem cells. The cord blood contains hematopoietic stem cells as well as mesenchymal stem cells. The cord tissue itself contains mesenchymal stem cells as well as epithelial stem cells.

Our scientists discovered that the lining of the umbilical cord is the part of the cord tissue which is the richest source of Epithelial- and Mesenchymal stem cells. 

 

The umbilical cord has a proven track record as a rich source of progenitor stem cells both from the endothelium (from which Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells- HUVECs- are obtained) as well as from the contained cord blood, which is already being banked in numerous centres around the world as a source of autologous haematopoietic stem cells for future use. The addition of Epithelial and Mesenchymal stem cells from its amniotic membrane strengthens its versatility.

What really differentiates this stem cell source from other sources (for example bone marrow or adipose (fat) tissue) is the total lack of morbidity both to mother and infant. This cell derivation can be thought of coming from a source which is disposable- which is exactly what happens to the placenta and umbilical cord post-delivery!

 

Patent Applications have been successful in numerous territories for processes of stem cell derivation as well as therapeutic uses. 

The epithelial cells derived have typical polyhedral morphology and the mesenchymal cells are characteristically spindle-shaped: both have a plump undifferentiated appearance. 

 
 

Epithelial cells are covering cells that line the body as skin, or are lining cells that form the innermost layer of hollow structures such as the intestines. Epithelial stem cells can be differentiated into any type of epithelial cell such as skin cells, corneal conjunctival cells, liver cells, oesophageal cells, intestinal lining cells, as well as cells of the lung, airways, and bladder. Nerve cells called neurons can also be differentiated from CLEC.

 
 

Cord Lining Epithelial Cells come from the upper layers of the cord lining and have been differentiated into: 

 

1)  Skin Cells, from which 3-dimensional skin (we call this organotypic skin equivalent) has been made Professor Andrew Burd and his team in Hong Kong have comprehensively characterised Cord Lining Epithelial Cells, clearly demonstrated their multipotent nature, and successfully constructed a three-dimensional organotypic skin equivalent.

Publication: Huang L, Wong Y-P, Gu H, et al. Stem cell-like properties of human umbilical cord lining epithelial cells and the potential for epidermal reconstitution. Cytotherapy. 2011; 13(2): 145-155.

The final paragraph of the paper states:

“In summary, the present study has demonstrated that CLEC share some of the characteristics of epithelial as well as pluripotent stem cells. The demonstration that these cells have stem cell-like properties and are capable of generating fully stratified epithelium provides support for their potential clinical application in epidermal reconstitution.”

 

2)  Liver Cells, which will be a very useful laboratory drug discovery platform

These data have now been published and show that Cord Lining Stem Cells not only readily morph into liver cells, but that the process is also economical and comes from a source which is ethically acceptable.

Publication: Cheong HH, Masilamani J, Chan CYE, et al. Metabolically functional hepatocyte-like cells from human umbilical cord lining epithelial cells. Assay Drug Dev Technol. 2013 (March); 11(2): 130-138

 

3)  Pancreatic Islet Cells, which produce insulin, the hormone lacking in patients with diabetes mellitus

These data have also been published in a paper that shows that Cord Lining Epithelial Cells, in addition to being successfully differentiated into pancreatic islet cells, also produce immunosuppressant HLA called HLA-G and HLA-E which prevent rejection of transplanted Cord Lining Epithelial Cells from the recipient of these cells.

Publication: Zhou Y, Gan SU, Lin G, et al. Characterization of human umbilical cord- lining derived epithelial cells and transplantation potential. Cell Transplantation. 2011; 20: 1827-1841

 

Cord Lining Epithelial Cells Differentiated into Skin, Corneal, Liver and Pancreatic Cells

Cord Lining Epithelial Cells Differentiated into Skin, Corneal, Liver and Pancreatic Cells

 
 

Mesenchymal cells make up the structural element of organs. Mesenchymal stem cells can be differentiated into cells of the deep layer of skin (dermis), cartilage cells, fat cells, bone cells, muscle cells and tendon cells.

Cord Lining Mesenchymal Cells come from the deeper layers of the cord lining and have been morphed (or differentiated) into

 
 

1) Fat Cells, which can be used for surgical reconstruction (e.g. after post traumatic contour defects).

A paper has been written to describe that fat cells generated from Cord Lining Mesenchymal Cells can be used as a very useful experimental platform for the investigation of the cellular basis of obesity, which remains an area of intense research and development. 

 

 
 

Publication: Cheong HH, Masilamani J, Phan TT, Chan SY. Cord lining progenitor cells: potential in vitro adipogenesis model. Intl J Obes. 2010 Nov; (34)11: 1625-1633

2) Cartilage Cells, which can be used to repair and resurface joints in patients where the joint cartilage has been damaged (Osteoarthritis or Rheumatoid Arthritis).

3) Bone Cells, which can be used for repair of bone defects after tumour or trauma.

4) Nerve Cells, which can be used to replace injured nerves, support the growth of new nerves, or produce nerve substances that are lacking (e.g. dopamine in patients with Parkinson’s disease).

 

Cord Lining Mesenchymal Cells Differentiated into Fat, Cartilage, Bone and Nerve Cells  

Cord Lining Mesenchymal Cells Differentiated into Fat, Cartilage, Bone and Nerve Cells

 

Yield

There are 20 million EpSC and 20 million MSC explanted per square centimetre of cord lining membrane. The average cord (330 cm2) yields 6 billion EpSC and 6 billion MSC at first growth (Passage 1). Our team of researchers have achieved Passage 30 with no change in cell stemness. Phenotype and karyotype also remained unchanged. This means that the potential is an incredible 6,000,000,00030 EpSC and 6,000,000,00030 MSC harvested from a single umbilical cord

 

How does this compare to other sources of Mesenchymal and Epithelial stem cells?

Bone Marrow (Adult Stem Cells): 1 MSC per 10,000 to 100,000 cells aspirated

Adipose (Fat) (Adult Stem Cells): 1 MSC per 100,000 cells aspirated

Placenta: Tissue easily contaminated during processing with high numbers of cell loss

Wharton’s Jelly: Variable cell numbers depending on quantity of WJ obtained from the cord