The birth of a new baby brings happiness in the family as well as it also brings new responsibilities for the parents. All parents try to make their newborn as comfortable as possible. The most important and foremost thing that all parents must do, is to immunize their baby. The importance of cord blood is new breakthrough in medical science and many people are unaware about this. Cord blood is the blood found inside the placenta and the umbilical cord after the birth of a baby. Cold blood is an extremely important component in stem cell research as cord blood stem cells are used for treatment of many diseases. The blood is collected from the umbilical cord mainly for the presence of stem cells and other hematopoietic cells, which are vital for the treatment of blood and other genetic disorders.
Umbilical cord is also known as a funis, birth cord or funiculus umbilicalis. This cord is found in placental mammals and it connects the unborn animal to its placenta. The placenta is a barrier which is present in the uterus. Placenta prevents many harmful substances from entering and it acts as a store of energy and blood transfer for the developing embryo or fetus. The blood that passed to fetus through placenta is highly charged with oxygen to keep the fetus alive and well without a direct air source. After the birth of baby, the umbilical cord is severed and either removed or falls off, leaving a small scar which is properly known as the umbilicus. More commonly, the umbilicus is known as the navel or belly button.
In recent years, umbilical cords have become very important, as it has been revealed that they are a rich source of stem cells. In support of stem cell research, many groups have pointed to this as a ready source of stem cells that do not need aborted fetuses. Parents are frequently turning to freezing their child’s umbilical cord blood stem cells, so they can use them later in life.
Cord blood is also called as “placental blood”. It is the blood that remains in the umbilical cord and placenta following birth and after the cutting cord. Routinely, cord blood is discarded with the placenta and umbilical cord. Umbilical cord blood of your baby is a valuable source of stem cells and these stem cells are genetically unique to your baby and family. Cord blood stem cells are more proliferative. In the stem cell therapy, a person’s own stem cells are a very important part as their own stem cells can be absorbed back into their bodies without the risk of rejection. Also, they have a higher chance of matching family members than stem cells from bone marrow. Child’s cord blood stem cells have a 25% chance of matching to her/his fathers. Being a perfect cord blood match, siblings have a 25% chance.
There are two main types of stem cells which are richly stored in umbilical cord blood.
- Mesenchymal Stem Cells:
According to CELS (2007), MSC can “differentiate into connective tissue cells such as bone, muscle, fat and tendon, gives them great potential in tissue engineering. There are already a number of products on the market or in late phase clinical trials which incorporate MSCs for wound healing, cosmetics and orthopaedics as well as cardiac and immuno-modulatory products.”
This recommends a degree of uncertainty over the usage of MSC and therefore the importance of storing it in cord blood.
- Haematopoeitic Stem Cells:
HSC are more immediately useful and there have been over 20,000 cord blood transplants treatments done. But, according to CELS (2007), “The small volume of cord blood (typically 75-100ml) means that the number of HSCs is low and the use of cord blood HSC is therefore limited to children under 40kg. This means that currently in private banks the success rates for older children and young adults will be low.”
HSC transplants are restricted to small adults and children.
Cord Blood Banking:
Cord blood banking is a process to store cord blood for its use in future. In response to the potential for cord blood transplants to treat diseases of the blood and immune systems, both the private cord blood bank and the public one have developed since the mid to late 1990s.
To collect cord blood, the method most commonly used is much like the procedure done when blood is donated. A technician utilizes a needle to withdraw the blood from the cord, and it is then stored in a blood bag. From the umbilical cord, about 75 milliliters (ml) of blood can be harvested on average. After the collection of cord blood, it is and stored in a public or private cord blood bank in case of future need. For personal use, the cost to collect and store this blood in a private bank is typically rather expensive and it is about $2,000 US Dollars (USD) for collection and $125 USD annually to store it privately. Alternatively, you can donate umbilical cord blood to a public bank for communal use. Fees are usually waived in such cases.
Benefits of Cold Blood Banking:
Cord blood banking promises a safer future for your baby and the rest of your family. Mainly, it is used in the field of regenerative medicine. Regenerative medicine incorporates the replacement or repair of a damaged organ which has been damaged because of aging, disease or some other congenital problems. By this treatment, the organs are healed themselves by stimulating the existing cells. Regenerative medicine also permits the scientists to grow artificial organs in the laboratory and then place them inside the body of the patient. For patients who need organ replacement and are unable to find one due to acute shortage of organ donors, this treatment can be prove very beneficial. Cord blood banking is very important for regenerative medicine because it contains stem cells, which can be used to treat diseases for example; brain injury, diabetes and in the treatment of cardiovascular problems.
Umbilical cords blood banking for stem cells therapy:
An estimated eighty types of diseases can be cured with the help of the stem cells in cord blood. It was used to cure blood cancer during the initial stages. Latest research proves that it can also be used to cure diseases such as; different types of cancers, metabolic disorders, blood disorders including thalassemia, bone marrow failure syndromes for example aplastic anemia and other immune system deficiencies.
For treating type-1 diabetes in babies, the stem cells can be highly effective. It is more effective than the traditional insulin based diabetic treatments. Also, the studies have also shown positive effect on cardiovascular injuries and in the treatment of brain injury. The other members of the family can also get benefits of cord blood storage, as organ transplants by close relatives tend to be more successful compared to unrelated donor transplants. Nowadays, you will be able to find several cord blood banks, which offer easy cord blood collection options to you.
A lot of people are now considering various cord blood banks for storing their newborn’s cord blood because of cord blood’s extremely vital role in the treatment of failing and aging organ systems. For a safer future of their babies, they do cord blood banking. Actually, it is estimated that around one in every three Americans can benefit from regenerative medicine.
What is Cord Blood and Umbilical Cord Blood Banking video from Youtube: