Great Ormond Street Hospital and its research partner, The Institute of Child Health at University College London (UCL), are supporting Stem Cell Awareness Day, with UCL promoting the event with the launch of a new YouTube video featuring Mr Paolo de Coppi and his colleagues.
Mr. de Coppi is Clinical Senior Lecturer in the Surgery Unit at The Institute of Child Health at UCL and carries out stem cell research at Great Ormond Street Hospital. It is hoped the research will result in stem cells being used to repair damaged organs. Mr de Coppi has looked for naturally occurring stem cells in amniotic fluid as a novel solution to some of the serious birth defects he sees. Around 40 per cent of patients at Great Ormond Street Hospital have some form of birth defect.
Mr de Coppi said: “As a surgeon I often see the devastating effects of multiple reconstructive operations aimed at replacing damaged organs. I have therefore focused my research interests on stem cells and tissue engineering, trying to find new ways to treat complex birth defects. I have identified stem cells in the amniotic fluid and found they have the ability to become many different types of cell. Our research aims to find ways of using these cells to repair and replace damaged tissues, so that babies are given the chance of a healthy life from the day they are born.
“The idea is we can create tissues in a test tube using a baby’s own cells, and then implant these at birth. We’re looking at repairing organs like intestines or windpipes. Grown from a child’s own cells, there should be no rejection of tissue.”
The video sees Mr. de Coppi discussing the work he and his colleagues carry out and offering insight into the latest developments relating to his stem cell research and the possibility of deriving cells from amniotic fluid. The full video can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qD_V1hqR6SI.