UCL is promoting Stem Cell Awareness Day (5th October) with a video on YouTube of surgeon Paolo de Coppi and colleagues. The video is the work of of the UCL Centre for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine.
Stem cells have the capacity to become other types of cell. Mr de Coppi has looked for naturally occurring stem cells 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 (www.gosh.nhs.uk
) 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.”
Mr de Coppi’s work is supported by Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity (www.gosh.org
The video featuring Paolo De Coppi's work was produced and coordinated by the UCL Centre for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine, http://www.ucl.ac.uk/stemcells/ The Centre brings together 185 research groups across UCL and partners with a common interest in all aspects of stem cells, tissue engineering, repair and regeneration and the development of their therapeutic and biotechnological potential.
 the intention is to obtain samples of the stem cells in the fluid surrounding an unborn baby, without harming the baby
 Mr de Coppi is also involved in the team who used blood stem cells to grow the tissue surrounding a donor windpipe (/news/press-releases/2010-press-release-archive/world-first-transplant-in-child/
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