All About Umbilical Cord Blood Banking

Cord blood banking enables you to preserve and collect the stem cells that are obtained from your baby’s umbilical cord. The blood from the umbilical cord is rich in stem cells which hold the potential to save the lives of your baby as well as those around him or her.

What is umbilical cord blood?

Although the blood from a baby’s umbilical cord was once considered to be medical waste, today it is considered a crucial source of stem cells that has the potential of saving someone’s life. The potential life-saving properties of these cells are what necessitates the storage of umbilical cord blood. These cells are often called master cells and are available in abundance in the umbilical cord of a baby. These cells can grow into different kinds of cells in our body that make up our organs, tissues, immune system, and blood. Moreover, these often perform the functionof an internal repair system. It has the potential to divide over and over again to replenish certain dead or damaged cells in our body. If you want to save and collect your baby’s umbilical cord blood for future use, then you can take the help of umbilical cord blood banking. This collected blood can be used for medical therapies such as the clinical trial of stem cell therapies and stem cell transplants.

What is the difference between the cord blood stem cells and the stem cells found in bone marrow?

The stem cells obtained from the bone marrow and the cord blood stem cells are somewhat similar. This is because bone marrow, as well as umbilical cord blood, contains HSCs or which can be called hematopoietic stem cells. The HSCs have a unique ability, an ability that makes them capable enough to develop into any other type of blood cells present in our body. Thanks to this unique ability, these cells can be used to replace the damaged and diseased cells in the human body. These cells are very helpful in the treatment of people with medical conditions like lymphoma, leukaemia, myeloma, etc.

The stem cells that are found in the umbilical cord of a new-born baby are less likely to cause complications after a successful transplant. Whereasstem cells found in the bone marrow and other parts of the body have the potential to cause certain complications. Some of the most common complications after stem cell transplantation include GvHD or graft versus host disease and transplant rejection. The graft versus host disease develops when the blood cells obtained from the stem cells of the donor tend to attack the recipient’s tissues and cells.

One of the most unique features of stem cells from the umbilical cord is that they can be used in stem cell transplantation even if the recipient and donor are not full matches. On the other hand, in most cases, a perfect match is necessary for the use of bone marrow grafts.

What are the different ways in which umbilical cord blood banking is used?

  • Umbilical cord stem cell transplants—

In 1988, a 5-year-old boy who suffered from a serious and rare blood disorder called Fanconi anaemia was treated with the help of stem cells. This was the first time a successful transplant was performed with the help of umbilical cord stem cells. Since that time, more than 75 different types of diseases havebeen treated using cord blood.

  • Clinical Trials:

Various clinical trials have been performed to study and research the potential use of stem cells obtained from the umbilical cord for the treatment of autism which is also known as the autism spectrum disorder. Autism refers to a developmental brain disorder. People with autism have various types of communication difficulties, along with repetitive behavior and social challenges. One such trial shows that the infusion of cord blood is safe for children of 2 to 3 years of age with autism. Another such trial is underway that is investigating the benefit of such infusion in improving the communication skills of these children and in reducing the inflammation that is associated with autism.

In addition to that, various researches are being undertaken to find out whether cord blood stem cells help in the treatment of cerebral palsy. One research showed that if children with spastic cerebral palsy are given a proper dose of their stem cells, then there was a substantial improvement in their condition in terms of neurological functions. Yet another trial is researching the safety of treating an individual with cerebral palsy with the help of their siblings’ cord blood stem cells.

The umbilical cord is not the only thing that can be reserved. Stem cells can also be taken from the placenta after the birth of your baby. You have the best chance to increase the number of stem cells collected by banking blood from the umbilical cord as well as the placenta. Many studies have demonstrated that transplant patients who use a greater number of stem cells in their treatment are more likely to survive. Therefore, you should go for Umbilical Cord Storage to store stem cells that can be used for the treatment of your baby as well as other family members.

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