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What are Mesenchymal Stem / Stromal Cells (MSC)?

The tissue of the umbilical cord is rich in this primitive cell that has the ability to become bone and cartilage cells (osteocytes and chondrocytes respectively). It is becoming more common for doctors who treat orthopaedic injuries and chronic pain to offer their patients injections of MSC.

Perhaps more important, MSC have been shown to suppress inflammation and modulate the immune system response. Clinical trials with MSC from cord tissue are available for many different disorders, but the most common are auto-immune diseases and neurologic conditions.  

Reference: Arnold Caplan PhD & Diego Correa, MD PhD 2011; Cell Stem Cell. THE MSC: AN INJURY DRUGSTORE 9(1): 11–15.