Uses of Cord Blood

Since the first successful application of cord blood in hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) was done in France in 1988, so much has changed in this emerging alternative therapy. In the procedure, a six-year-old boy was treated using cord blood stem cells to help regenerate his blood and immune system that were impaired by a blood disorder referred to as Fanconi’s Anemia1,3. Use of cord blood is making a huge progress in the treatment of both hematological and non-hematological disorders. The increasing incidents of clinical trials utilizing cord blood to perform stem-cell therapies show the level of use of placental blood. Cord blood may be used in different ways: 5

Allogeneic Use

Many inherited diseases may be difficult to treat, but cord blood cells and tissue prove to offer efficacy in treating genetic disorders. This is termed as allogeneic use because it involves the sibling of the baby whose blood was collected and banked. When a mother delivers a newborn, the infant’s umbilical cord has to be cut or divided to separate it from the placenta.

Blood can be extracted from the remaining section of the umbilical cord that attaches to the placenta. From this blood, stem cells may be retrieved and they are referred to as the stem cells of the umbilical cord blood or UCB stem cells. This blood can be banked through what is known as cord blood banking so that it is used in the future. If you had your cord blood banked and your child develops a congenital or genetic disorder, he or she may be treated using the stem cells extracted from the placental blood.

Autologous Use

When a parent banks cord blood extracted from the cord and placenta of the child, it provides readily accessible stem cells having a perfect genetic match to the baby. The baby can be treated of various illness for example cancers like chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) and myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). The child may also be treated of bone marrow failure syndromes such as severe autoimmune neutropenia, red cell aplasia, Fanconi anemia, and congenital sideroblastic anemia.

Children suffering from metabolic disorders such as Hurler syndrome, Gunther disease, and Sandhoff Syndrome may be treated using their own cord blood stem cells. Other illnesses and disorders that may be treated utilizing cord blood cells include immunodeficiencies like ataxia telangiectasia, reticular dysplasia, leukocyte adhesion deficiency, and DiGeorge syndrome.5,6

Regenerative Medicine

Cord blood therapeutic use has grown to the area of regenerative medicine. Researchers are now studying how cord blood stem cells could help in treatment of conditions like autism and cerebral palsy that were once thought to be untreatable. Regenerative medicine involves the science of cells being used to facilitate or regenerate repair of cells that have been damaged or destroyed by things like injury, disease, or aging.

It is estimated that over 80 diseases4,5 that include genetic diseases, cancers, and blood disorders are being treated using cord blood. When a successful cord blood transplant is done, the stem cells tend to infuse in the bloodstream of the patient and begin to heal and repair damaged tissue and cells. The cells create a new, healthy body immunity system. To help meet the increasing demand for cord blood, parents may consider banking cord blood to allow access to perfectly matched stem cells. Other people related or unrelated may also benefit from cord blood stem cell treatment.

Keywords: cord blood stem cells; use of placental blood; stem cells; cord blood banking; banks cord blood; banking cord blood

Reference List

  1. Banking Umbilical Cord Blood (UCB) Stem Cells: Awareness, Attitude and Expectations of Potential Donors from One of the Largest Potential Repository (India).
  2. Use of umbilical cord blood for stem cell research.
  3. Cord Blood vs. Bone Marrow vs. Peripheral Blood,
  4. Umbilical Cord Blood Research: Current and Future Perspectives.
  5. How is cord blood used today?
  6. What is cord blood used for?.

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