Robert J. Hariri, MD, PhD, on the Importance of Placental-Derived Stem Cells in Cell Therapy


The founder, chairman, and CEO of Celularity discussed the advantages of cells derived from umbilical cord blood versus other sources of cells for cell therapies.

“The placenta and developing embryo and fetus are a foreign tissue to the maternal host—only a 50% contributor of that fetal and placental DNA. Yet the mother tolerates this foreign organism without an immunologic conflict of any significance and vice versa, the fetus and placenta do not reject the maternal host. Now consider that even in surrogate pregnancy, where the mother is not even related to the fetus or its placenta, there is no assurance of any DNA consistency between the placenta and fetus and the maternal host. There is no immunologic conflict that would reject that developing fetus. That unique immune tolerizing behavior we have always felt was central to the value of the placenta as a source of cells for the emerging field of cellular medicine because it means that these cells could be a one-size-fits-all product.”

July was Cord Blood Awareness Month, a month dedicated to raising awareness regarding the importance of umbilical cord blood, and the materials derived from it, to the medical field. In the field of cell therapy specifically, umbilical cord blood is one of several important sources of starting materials for the production of cell therapy products.

In observance of Cord Blood Awareness Month, CGTLive™ spoke with Robert J. Hariri, MD, PhD, the founder, chairman, and CEO of Celularity, to learn more about cord blood and placental-derived stem cells in the context of cell therapy. Hariri discussed the history of his own involvement in the discovery of pluripotent stem cells derived from the human placenta and the evolution of his company’s work with placental-derived stem cells over time. Hariri emphasized the unique advantages of placental-derived stem cells for cell therapy applications in comparison to other sources of stem cells, such as peripheral blood-derived and bone marrow-derived stem cells. Furthermore, he highlighted some of Celularity’s recent work with natural killer cells derived from the placenta and their utility in anticancer applications.

Ceulularity. Robert J. Hariri, M.D., Ph.D. Website. Accessed August 22, 2023.

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