Umbilical cord mesenchymal stromal cells (UCMSCs) are isolated from Wharton’s jelly in the umbilical cord
at birth, and offer advantages over adult mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) such as highly efficient isolation, faster proliferation
in vitro, a broader differentiation potential, and non-invasive harvesting procedure. Their expansion and differentiation
potential renders them a promising cell source for tissue engineering and clinical applications. This review discusses
recent updates on the differentiation strategies for musculoskeletal tissue engineering including cartilage, bone, and
muscle. In addition to tissue engineering applications, UCMSCs can be utilized to support hematopoiesis and modulate
immune response. We review the patents relevant to the application of MSCs including UCMSCs in hematopoiesis and
immune modulation. Finally, the current hurdles in the clinical translation of UCMSCs are discussed. During clinical
translation, it is critical to develop large-scale manufacturing of UCMSCs as well as the composition of expansion and
differentiation media. Four clinical trials to date have examined the safety and efficacy of UCMSCs. Once public banking
of UCMSCs is available to supply matched allogeneic units and once UCMSC manufacturing is standardized, we anticipate
that UCMSCs will be more widely used in clinical trials.
Keywords: Clinical study, commercialization, immune modulation, mesenchymal stromal cell, umbilical cord, Wharton’s jelly.
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