Stemcell Banking Options
Cord Blood Banking- the Process
The blood bank where umbilical cord blood is stored for future use is called cord blood bank. There are three steps that are involved in cord blood banking
- Processing and
Cord blood is collected after the umbilical cord is cut with in a few minutes of birth. It is a simple, easy, safe and painless procedure. The cord is clamped after the birth and cut and the blood from it is drawn and collected in a specialized bar coded bag. The stem cels are harvested from the blood which are subsequently stored in cryo-vials at -196 degrees celsius in liquid nitrogen.
Private vs public banking
If the cord blood is donated to public cord blood banks the donated cord blood can be used for other transplant patients if needed. In family or private cord blood banks the cord blood is stored on behalf of the client for use by the client if needed. This gives the family a sense of security that if the blood is required by their child or some other family member needs a transplant, the cord blood is can be used.
Advantages of cord cells
There are several advantages of cord blood stem cells over the stem cells retrieved from bone marrow.
- Stem cells from cord blood can be obtained more easily than from bone marrow. Cord blood stem cells can be readily obtained from the placenta at the time of delivery which is painless. But harvesting stem cells from bone marrow is painful surgical procedure.
- Stem cells from cord blood can be used in a broader range of recipients such as it can be transplanted back into the donor, to a family member or to an unrelated recipient. Where as, for marrow transplant to succeed, a nearly perfect match of some tissue proteins between the donor and the recipient is needed.
- If stem cells from cord blood are used they are less likely to be rejected by the donor even if there is a partial tissue mismatch between the donor and the recipient.
- The risk of graft versus host disease (GVHD) a potentially fatal complication of transplantation occurs less frequently with cord blood than with bone marrow. In GVHD the donor cells can attack the recipient’s tissues.
- Use of cord blood for acquiring stem cells may make blood stem cell transplant available to more people and more quickly than that can be achieved by marrow transplant.
- Cord blood is less likely to be contaminated by certain infectious agents, like certain viruses, which can be a risk to transplant recipients.
- Cord blood stem cells can possibly be used in the future for gene therapy for certain genetic diseases.
Why one should bank stem cells
Stem cells are unlike other cell in the body (like the muscle, brain or heart cell). The muscle, brain, or heart cells in your body are specialized and they cannot repair themselves if damaged. Like after a heart attack, the cells of the heart muscle that become weak cannot be repaired and they remain damaged or injured.
The stem cells differ from other kinds of cells in the body because of their certain properties.
The general properties of all stem cells are
- they can divide and renew themselves for long periods;
- they are unspecialized; and
- they can differentiate to become to specialized cell types.
The stem cells are unspecialized cells and hence cannot perform any tissue specific or specialized function like the brain, liver or heart cell. But these cells can divide and give rise to form specialized cells, including heart muscle cells, blood cells, or nerve cells.
When you decide to invest for banking cord blood it is an investment for the whole family and not just the newborn. The cord blood stem cells ar...
Source: Onlymyhealth editorial team Feb 24, 2011
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