Stem cell populations are known from the cord blood as well as the placental matrix. In the current patent a stem cell population from the placenta is covered that possesses markers of adult stem cells as well as embryonic stem cells.
For example, the first claim covers "A composition comprising human stem or progenitor cells and isolated human placental stem cells that are SH2.sup.+, SH3.sup.+, SH4.sup.+ and OCT-4.sup.+, wherein said placental stem cells are obtained from a placenta that has been drained of cord blood and flushed to remove residual blood".
The presence of embryonic stem cell markers such as OCT4 has previously been described in other non-embryonic sources of stem cells such as in the stem cells derived from the amniotic fluid.
This patent is interesting since it has two clinical prophetic examples for the use of the cell population covered. The first involves treatment of ALS and the second involves treatment of atherosclerosis.
Although people may argue that there are issues surrounding the clinical use of allogeneic cell populations, since the cells appear to be mesenchymal, this may not be a significant problem given that mesenchymal stem cells appear to be capable of acting as universal donors.