Current status and perspectives of stem cells application in Ukraine  

Cell therapy, based on the use of the regenerative potential of stem cells is increasingly used in the treatment of more than 70 severe human diseases and their complications, which earlier were supposed to be incurable. These disorders include benign and malignant tumors, consequences of stroke, myocardial infarction, hepatitis and liver cirrhosis, diabetes mellitus, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, disorders of supporting-motor system and others. During more than 10 years the leading pharmaceutical companies are actively investing in the development of biotechnologies, since  methods of cell therapy become an competitive alternative to pharmaceuticals.  At the same time biobanks of the umbilical cord blood stem cells, other human tissues and cells as well as hematopoietic stem cell registries became an integral part of the health care system of the developed world.  

Ukraine belongs to the countries with the most ancient traditions of investigations of stem cells and successful experience of the implementation of the innovative scientific elaborations into clinical practice. Yet in 1984 in Kharkov (Ukraine) for the first time in Europe cord blood samples were frozen long before the creation of the world’s first cord blood bank in USA in 1992. In Ukraine, a significant contribution into the development of cell technologies  was made by the Institute of  the Problems of Cryobiology and Cryomedicine of NAS of Ukraine, Institute of the Urgent and Reconstructive Surgery n.a. V.K. Gusak of NAMS of Ukraine, Institute of Eye Diseases and Tissue Therapy n.a. V.P. Filatov of NAMS of Ukraine. 

In 2003 in the result of the association of the unique scientific and professional potential of the leading national scientists, the most advanced elaborations in the field of cryoconservation of the human stem cells and tissues and the most uptodate equipment a highlytechnological medical centre – the Institute of Cell Therapy was launched.  Soon the Institute of Cell Therapy became one of the leading enterprises in the field of banking and manufacturing of the high quality cell preparations in compliance with GMP-standards not only in Ukraine but also in the world.

During almost 15 years of the business activities the scientific associates of the Institute of Cell Therapy have regularly presented Ukraine at the most significant scientific and practical conferences in the field of cryobiology and regenerative medicine, presenting reports worldwide.   Results of the scientific developments of the Institute of Cell Therapy were published in the most prestigious scientific journals, possessing impact-factor. The Institute of Cell therapy also many times gathered the leading world scientists  of the  field in Ukraine, being the organizer and coorganizer of the medical conferences and congresses, devoted to the problems of cryostorage and clinical application of stem cells.

In 2008, the Institute of Cell Therapy became the first medical institution in Ukraine, who receive the permission of the Coordination Centre of Transplantation of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine for the conduction of the clinical trials using stem cells. And in 2012, the methods of treatment, developed by the scientists of the Institute of Cell Therapy based on the use of stem cell drugs received the official approval of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine after 5 years of clinical trials.

Today in Ukraine the Institute of Cell Therapy developed the cryoconserved stem cell based  methods of treatment of the following diseases:

  • Diabetes mellitus type 2;
  • Liver cirrhoses and hepatitis B and C;
  • Coronary heart disease, ischemic cardiomyopathy;
  • Hernias of intervertebral discs;
  • Chronical ischemia of the lower extremities.

In conjunction with the leading research institutes and medical universities of Ukraine the Institute of Cell Therapy also realizes a number of scientific projects on the evaluation of the efficacy of stem cells in the treatment of blood malignancies in children, inborn heart defects, frostbites, trophical ulcers, nervous system disorders.

In cooperation with the Institute of Eye Diseases and Tissue Therapy n.a. V.P. Filatov of NAMS of Ukraine the Institute of cell Therapy conducts a clinical trial on the evaluation of the effectiveness of the application of amniotic membrane in the treatment of keratitis of different ethiology.

The Institute of Cell Therapy was the first in the world to introduce to the market  a highlytechnological service of the cryoconservation of the placenta with the possibility of the further manufacturing of high quality extractive and tissue preparations from this biological material due to original method as well as isolation and cryostorage of placental stem cells. Thus, in addition to treatment services the Institute  of Cell Therapy offers rehabilitation and cosmetologic care using “life elixir” – placental extract.