While tied to a variety of causes, chronic infection is the main barrier to wound healing. A significant percentage of infected, chronic wounds are tied to complications of diabetes and diabetic ulcers. In addition, certain bacteria have been able to resist conventional antibiotics and antimicrobials by either adopting a resistant form called a biofilm or through the emergence of new, antibiotic-resistant strains.

Despite standard clinical treatment such as wound dressing and debridement of necrotic tissue, wound infection can lead to limb amputation, with patients facing a five-year survival rate of 27 percent.


Cleveland Cord Blood Center Assistant Researcher Heather Carey, Ph.D., is exploring how CCBC’s proprietary cell products derived from umbilical cord blood can prove helpful in treating those at greatest risk for limb amputation. These products, trade named CordHealTM, are currently under development towards regulatory approval.

Immune cells called monocytes are an innate defense against bacterial infection. While autologous monocytes have shown a modest increase in wound healing, monocytes from umbilical cord blood provide a rich source of cellular and secreted factors for injury and chronic wounds. The high concentration of these factors may explain why infants heal wounds without scarring, unlike adults.

CCBC is investigating how the topical application of umbilical cord blood monocytes and platelet rich plasma on a biomolecular scaffold enhances wound debridement, infection resolution, and new blood vessel formation – all processes required for healthy wound healing.

CCBC researchers are currently testing this therapy in a diabetic wound healing model in mice for proof of concept and safety. Currently, treatment of diabetic wounds has an estimated cost of between $25 – $50 billion annually. CordHeal’s lifesaving, life-enhancing and cost savings potential is dramatic.