ibnlive » Sports

Aug 28, 2006 at 05:41pm IST

Stem cells bring hope for footballers

London: Some leading English footballers are storing stem cells from their newborn babies as a potential future treatment for their own career-threatening sports injuries, according to a report in the Sunday Times.

Players are freezing the cells taken from the umbilical cord blood of their babies as a possible future cure for cartilage and ligament problems.

Stem cells can be used to regenerate damaged organs and tissue because they are the earliest form of cells.

HOPE IN TISSUES: English footballers are using stem cells of their newborns recover from injuries.

The paper quoted one unnamed Premier League player from a north west club as saying: "We decided to store our new baby's stem cells for possible future therapeutic reasons, both for our children and possibly for myself.

"As a footballer, if you're prone to injury it can mean the end of your career, so having your stem cells - a repair kit if you like - on hand makes sense."

The player is one of five who have frozen their children's stem cells with Liverpool-based CryoGenesis International (CGI), a commercial stem cell bank.

The Times said that in the past five years more than 11,000 British parents have paid up to 1,500 pounds ($2,837) to store their babies' stem cells in order to grow tissue, should their children become ill.

Thousands of successful umbilical cord blood stem cell transplants have already been carried out to treat children with severe blood conditions or immune disorders.