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Cord blood refers to the samples that are collected from the umbilical cord, which connects the mother’s womb and baby. It is the passage through which the baby gets nourishment from its mother. The cord is collected soon after the baby is born, in a specimen tube. This blood is stockpiled in the blood banks, because it can be used for many different purposes.
Diseases treated with the support of this blood:
This body fluid has been in use as the transplant medicine for more than 20+ years, and it is quite helpful for treating many diseases. This type of treatment gives new hopes to people who are suffering from dreadful disease like cancer.
Some of the major diseases treated using these methods are:
- Chronic Leukemia
- Hodgkin & Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
- Severe Combined Immunodeficiency Diseases
- High-Risk Solid Tumors
- Leukocyte Adhesion Deficiency
- Hurler Syndrome
- Sanfilippo Syndrome
- Aplastic Anemia
- Sickle Cell Disease
The above mentioned disorders are very serious in nature, and they could lead to various different kinds of cancers. In addition to the abovementioned diseases, the stem cells can also help in curing Malignancies, metabolism issues by birth, solid tumors, immunodeficiency disorders, and various kinds of blood related disorders. If you have any questions about the therapies, you could consult your physician or at any of the blood banks.
What is a stem cell?
The umbilical cord fluid contains stem cells, which are otherwise found mainly in the bone marrow. It has the distinct characteristic of developing into platelets, white blood cells, and red blood cells. At the same time, they also have the potentials to divide and regenerate into other types of cells, which make up the composition of various organs found in the body.
The tissue of the umbilical cord contains Mesenchymal cells, and it has the property to form cartilage, tendon, and bone. Since the umbilical cord is a rich source of stem cells, it will be helpful and repairing injured or affected tissues in the critical body organs. That is the reason why the blood from the umbilical cord has a lot of medicinal value.
Some grave illnesses like childhood cancers and blood diseases require chemotherapy and radiation treatments. In the course of such treatments, there are chances of many useful tissues getting damaged or killed along with the cancer causing cells. In order to restore the diseased cells and repair damaged tissues, the doctors make use of the stem cell treatment.
Some people might need a bone marrow transplant, which is done by making use of the cells from a donor. However, finding the matching bone marrow donors can be very difficult. The cells in the marrow will eventually enhance the patient’s immune system and blood producing capability, thereby leading towards recovery.
There are many reasons why a doctor chooses this method for treatment, and they are as follows:
- If a close match is found between the patient and the donor, then it will improve the patient health after taking this treatment. The stem cells in the bone marrow help in regeneration of critical parts in the body organs.
- The samples from the umbilical cord are stored safely, and are ready to use whenever the need arises. Usually, Doctors will help their patients in finding a close match blood unit.
- According to the results from a recent medical survey, only a small percentage of patients suffer from Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) when treated with peripheral blood or marrow transplant. The chances of recovery are quite high.
Cord blood research
The research for this treatment began in the 1970, and the researchers discovered that this body fluid contains some kind of hematopoietic stem cells. Many of you might be wondering about what does the future holds for these cord blood therapies.
More than 100’s of researches have been conducted, and most of them show promising results. Some of the experimental and clinical trials suggest that these cells can be used in the treatment of autoimmune diseases such as cerebral palsy, lupus, stroke, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, and other injures that are related to the spinal cord and brain. This kind of treatment will gain more popularity in the near future, for treating life threatening diseases.
Storing the cord blood off your newborn baby:
Now that you have learned about the advantages of cord blood in the treatment of various diseases, it would make a lot of sense for you to have your newborn baby’s cord blood stored for the future. It could save your child’s own life, or even help in saving the lives of other individuals suffering from cancers.
Please be reminded that the success of treatments using autologous cells will depend on many other factors besides just the availability of adult stem cells. The patient’s health condition could also be the determining factor for the success of treatments. In addition to the health condition, the relationship between and the donor and the match will also be considered.
If you are planning to store your baby’s blood, then you can contact any private or government organization. Some of the hospitals in the United Statesrun such banks, and hence you could also register with them. Some agencies that might help you in this process are National Marrow Donor Program, American Red Cross, and other non-profit organizations.
There are many institutions which offer their services through their websites as well. You could easily get in touch with them, and check out all the processes that are required for storing the stem cells of your newborn child. You could also inquire about the cost of banking the cord cells.
The cord blood serves as the rich source of lifesaving treatments, and in the future, there are more possibilities of advancements in this field. It is will be good, if you donate your baby’s cord blood to help the experimental trails, and to save the precious lives of fellow human beings.