“When Sino Cell was founded 13 years ago, our focus was on collecting and preserving umbilical cord stem cells from newborns, which is one of the purest sources of viable stem cells,” says M.C. Ho (何美慶), the company chairman. Sino Cell has successfully processed and stored over 30,000 such cord blood samples.
“But for those who missed the opportunity to store their umbilical cord blood, the next best thing is to store the stem cells found in peripheral blood while you’re still young,” says Ho. “Everyone will age and become sick, and these stem cells can be used to repair your body and preserve your health.”
Stem cells are the building blocks from which the body produces more specialized cells and tissue. An embryo at first is composed entirely of stem cells, but the stem cells gradually differentiate as the body matures, becoming either tissue and or mature stem cells of differing levels of potency and specialization. Together, they serve as the natural repair system for the body. “Scientists have found that when we are injured and as we age, stem cells from our bone marrow repair us,” says Dr. Henry Chu, General Manager of Enhance Biomedical and Superintendent of Full Life Clinic, local companies that collaborate with Sino Cell. These cells are an important source of hope that advances can be found to tackle previously hard-to-treat illnesses such as heart disease, arthritis, and many neurological and degenerative conditions.
While research has been conducted on both embryonic and adult stem cells, the most promising advances have been made using adult stem cells. Numerous potential therapies are undergoing phase-three clinical trial for final confirmation of their safety and efficacy. “Many believe that within 10 years, difficult conditions such as diabetes, degenerative diseases, and neurological diseases will be treatable with stem cells,” says Dr. Chu. “The primary issue now is how many stem cells to use and what means of application have the best results.”
A major obstacle to the progress of stem cell therapy is that the potency of stem cells appears to diminish with age. While stem cells are still present in older bodies, the effectiveness of these cells seems to decline with time as the body gradually loses its ability to self-repair. For example, recent research published in the journal Nature Communications found a close link between stem cells and aging. This research focused on mice with progenia, a premature aging disorder that makes them a research model for human aging.?
Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine found that the function of the stem cells of mice with progenia were impaired compared with those of young normal mice, but when progenic mice were injected with stem cells from healthy mice they lived three time as long, at the same time delaying many symptoms of old age. “This leads us to think that healthy cells secrete factors to create an environment that helps correct the dysfunction present in the native stem cell population and aged tissue,” wrote Dr. Laura Niedernhofer, one of the senior investigators on the University of Pittsburgh team, in an article about the project published in Science Daily. “In a culture dish experiment, we put young stem cells close to, but not touching, progeria stem cells, and the unhealthy cells functionally improved.”
Because using one’s own stem cells is the safest way to pursue therapy, the collection and storage of these stem cells while one is young and healthy could be crucial for enjoying the full benefits of stem cell therapy. For this reason, Sino Cell has begun to provide storage services for the stem cells found in peripheral blood. “From our experience, which has included the storage of stem cells from elderly clients, we’ve found that it’s most effective to store the stem cells of healthy young people,” says M.C. Ho. “In the future, when you need to use stem cells, it is these stem cells that will have the best quality and viability.”
Sino Cell works closely with Enhance Biomedical’s Enhance Cell Bank to collect the stem cells. Enhance Cell Bank operates clinics where stem cells are actually collected for storage. With years of experience and a high degree of professionalism, the team of Sino Cell and Enhance Cell Bank ensure that clients get the best and most trusted service for their stem cells—and their futures. Sino Cell partners with Hsinchu’s Food Industry Research and Development Institute (FIRDI) to ensure the careful storage and preservation of the contents of the stem cells. “FIRDI is an organization with 50 years of history,” notes the Institute’s spokesman, Hsieh I-ling. “If there is an earthquake that cuts off electricity, they have their own electrical generator, and the lab doors will hermetically seal like submarine doors in the event of a flood.”
Sino Cell is confident that its work will contribute substantially to the health of future generations. “Cell treatment is the trend of the future” said Dr. Chu. “Therefore we are very enthusiastic and optimistic about the future benefit of this therapy for humanity.”