The Cell Therapy Research Institute in Lyon, France specializes in taking adult stem cells from children and adults, and developing them into different tissues for therapies.
They were the first people in the world to make liver cells from human umbilical cord blood from newborn babies and also pancreatic, nervous and other types of tissues.
They developed them for clinical trials – mostly for children, but also for adults – and we are focused on trying to get stem cells to people as quickly as possible.
At the launch of The Adult Stem-cell Foundation of Ireland, Professor McGuckin said: "Like all countries in Europe, Ireland must look to the future to protect the population and be ready for new treatments. We cannot simply look back and say, ‘I wish we had prepared for that’. In my career, I worked with children who would be alive today, if more stem cell banks had been available."
The foundation has been set up to provide awareness and information about adult stem cells, research, development and therapies and to support people in need of or undergoing stem cell therapy.
Adult stem cells are found in bone marrow, dental pulp (teeth) and umbilical cord blood. They have been used to successfully treat leukaemia and related blood cancers for many years.
Umbilical cord blood and bone marrow treatments have seen the highest success rate to date. These critical adult stem cells can treat leukaemia, lymphoma, sickle cell disease, thalassaemia and immune deficiencies.
Over 70 diseases are treatable with cord blood and over 15 clinical trials are under way for new conditions. Although most treatments are for third parties ("allogeneic"), cord blood can treat the same person ("autologous") - which is essential for regenerative medicine.
Professor McGuckin is also developing a treatment for children with congenital bone malformations such as Cleft Palate, using the child’s own mesenchymal stem cells (the kind of stem cells found in teeth) to make bone implants.