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Pediatr Res. 2018 Jan;83(1-2):241-248. doi: 10.1038/pr.2017.228. Epub 2017 Oct 11.

Transamniotic stem cell therapy: a novel strategy for the prenatal management of congenital anomalies.

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Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.


Transamniotic stem cell therapy, or TRASCET, is an emerging therapeutic concept for the management of congenital anomalies based on the augmentation of the biological role of select populations of stem cells that already occur in the amniotic fluid, for targeted therapeutic benefit. Amniotic fluid-derived mesenchymal stem cells (afMSCs) have a central role in the enhanced ability of the fetus to repair tissue damage. This germane recent finding constitutes the biological foundation for the use of afMSCs in TRASCET. It has been shown experimentally that simple intra-amniotic delivery of afMSCs in large numbers can either elicit the repair, or significantly mitigate the effects associated with major congenital anomalies by boosting the activity that these cells normally have. For example, TRASCET can induce partial or complete coverage of experimental spina bifida by promoting the local formation of host-derived skin, thus protecting the spinal cord from further damage. In another example, it can significantly alleviate the bowel damage associated with gastroschisis, one of the most common major abdominal wall defects. Other applications involving different congenital anomalies and/or other stem cells present in the amniotic fluid in diseased pregnancies are currently under investigation in this freshly evolving facet of fetal stem cell therapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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