Why Bank Cord Blood?

There is increasing need to store cord blood safely for use in future. Cord blood is considered to have plenty of powerful stem cells and because it can only be collected during the time of birth, storage is a very important thing. This is referred to as cord blood banking and it should be done the right way. As stem cells continue to find new spots in medical treatment therapies, having placenta blood provides another source of stem cells to help in treatment of various ailments and disorders. Today, new therapies are being looked at and studied to see if there is any potential use of stem cells derived from umbilical cord blood. For instance, research is ongoing to determine if patients with type-1 diabetes, autism, and cerebral palsy can benefit from stem cells obtained from cord blood. There are various reasons why we should bank cord blood and they include:

It’s a Match for the Baby

In the event that a baby needs to have stem cell transplantation in future, he or she can benefit from their own stem cells. The cord blood banking can help provide perfectly matched stem cells that do not present risk of rejection. The stem cells will be available throughout the lifetime of the baby. It important to realize that stem cells are matched using what are called human leucocyte antigen (HLA) markers. These HLA markers act like signals to a person’s body immune system. 1

The reason HLA matching is conducted is to ensure that chances of rejection are eliminated meaning there is an improvement in having a successful transplantation. Since cord blood cells have not matured to the level of bone marrow cells extracted from adults, it means that the matching criterion is a bit less strict. The requirement for an adult is that they should match not less than 6 out of the 8 HLA markers, but cord blood units just need to have 4 markers out of a total of 6 HLA markers. 1

A Potential Match for the Family

If a member of a family requires stem cell transplant, using cord blood obtained from one of the children reduces the chances of rejection. Utilizing a child’s own cells allows greater potential for matching compared to use of unrelated donor. The clinical outcomes linked to sibling cord blood seem to provide better results and the fewer complications compared to a thirty party donor for stem cells. Studies suggest that cord blood doesn’t need strict matching or close matching as that of marrow donor. There is approximately a 25 percent chance of a child’s cord blood being a perfect match for a related individual.

Wide Range of Illnesses to Be Treated

A lot has changed since we had the first cord blood transplantation about 25 years ago. There are now over 80 diseases that can be treated using placenta blood. A majority of these illnesses are considered life-threatening, so you can see the importance of storing and banking cord blood. Some of the conditions that may be treated include genetic diseases, leukemias and other blood disorders, cancers, and solid tumors.1,2,3

Banked cord blood is becoming rapidly available and in the cryopreserved state, there is long term stability that can last for more than two decades. Banked cord blood is providing an ideal donor source that helps babies and young children having certain genetic or inherited metabolic diseases as well as immunodeficiency syndromes that are identified when a baby is born.4

Keywords: cord blood banking; source of stem cells; use of stem cells; cord blood; stem cells; banking cord blood

Reference List

  1. Why Store Cord Blood? https://www.insception.com/why-bank-cord-blood
  2. Consider the Life-Saving Elements to Umbilical Cord Blood. http://www.health4mom.org/consider-the-life-saving-elements-to-umbilical-cord-blood
  3. Cord Blood. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cord_blood
  4. Announcing a New Journal Section: Cord Blood. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5442718/

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