Sunday, 31 January 2016

Is Private Cord Blood Banking Worthy?

Expecting a baby is one of the beautiful yet important phases of life. Several decisions are to be made and what to do with your newborns cord blood is just one of them. Cord blood is a precious commodity that is collected from a newborn right after birth. Being a rich source of stem cells, cord blood is currently used to treat more than 80 diseases including several forms of cancers, immune disorders, blood disorders and genetically inherited diseases to mention a few. Parents may discard it, donate it to public banks or store it in a private cord blood banking facility. Storing cord blood and tissue at private banks may cost you whereas donations are free of cost. Cord blood donated to the public bank is used either for medical research or stem cell transplants. 

Private cord blood banking have been gaining immense popularity in the recent times, as you can find its marketing pitches everywhere – at doctor’s waiting rooms, pregnancy related mobile apps, parenting magazines and more. The month of July is even considered as National Cord Blood Awareness Month. But according to the doctors, parents need to be very cautious when signing up for the private cord blood storage. Expectant parents need to think long and hard before taking an informed decision. Banking your newborns cord blood at a private bank is an expensive affair, as the processing fees can run from roughly $500 to $2,500 with the annual storage fees of $100 to $300 each year thereafter. 

Most of the parents who opt for private cord blood banking consider it as a precious resource and biological life insurance for their kid. Even though, the chances of your child benefiting from his or her own cord blood are less than 0.04 percent. This is because the cord blood contains the same cells and genetic defects that are responsible for the diseases in the first place. So, the best case is to choose private banking only if your family has a medical history of diseases currently treatable with cord blood. Talk with your doctor in order to discuss all the possibilities and take a wise decision.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Cord Blood Research Facts You Need to Know

Promising results from cord blood research have been prompting more and more parents to bank their newborn’s umbilical cord blood and tissue. As a rich source of stem cells, cord blood is currently used in several lifesaving transplants and is expected to cure more debilitating conditions in the future. Patients with leukemia, lymphoma, immune deficiencies and other inherited metabolic disorders can benefit from cord blood stem cell transplants. 

What makes cord blood so unique and valuable? Until recently, the blood present in the placenta and umbilical cord was disposed as medical waste right after the child birth. But with the discovery of the abundance of stem cell in the cord blood, things have changed. Stem cells present in the cord blood are capable of dividing and renewing themselves. Since they are unspecialized templates, these cells can be developed into specialized cells and tissues. It is their renewal property that proves beneficial in treating several life threatening conditions. During stem cell transplants, the damaged cells are destroyed and replaced with cord blood stem cells, which then replicates and produce new blood cells. 

What is cord blood banking? Collecting and storing the newborn’s cord blood for long term is known as cord blood banking. Private and public cord blood banking options are available for the expectant parents. According to researchers and scientists, cord blood holds an immense potential as a treatment for a diverse range of health conditions, such as cerebral palsy (CP), stroke, spinal cord injuries, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Several clinical trials and research sessions are underway exploring the therapeutic value and applications of cord blood and cord tissue stem cells

If you are an expectant parent, then you may either decide to store your baby’s cord blood at a private bank or donate it to a public bank. A number of patients suffering from conditions like those listed above may benefit from the public stem cell donations. So, rather than waste this valuable resource, make a point to store or donate your infant’s cord blood and cord tissue.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Cord blood stem cells: Current Uses

Expectant parents have a number of major decisions to make as they prepare to welcome the new member to family. One of the big financial decisions is about banking the cord blood. If you are wondering what is cord blood, then let us explain. The umbilical cord that connects the mother to the growing fetus is cut after the birth. A small amount of blood remains in the blood vessels of the placenta and cord even after the delivery, which is termed as cord blood. In addition to the normal elements of blood (red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets and plasma), cord blood contains multipotent stem cells. These unspecialized cells with self-renewing capabilities can give rise to other cell types. However, the specialization potential of multipotent stem cells is limited to one or more cell lines. Presence of mutipotent stem cells in cord blood and cord tissues makes it life saving resource. And that is why medial communities are encouraging the expectant parents to bank or donate the cord blood rather than throwing it away. Cost of cord blood banking is worthy, especially if your family has a history of genetic disease.

Newborn’s cord blood is used for treating several life threatening disorders including several forms of leukemia, lymphoma and anemia. Hematopoietic stem cells or blood forming stem cells found in the umbilical cord blood is used as an alternative to bone marrow for transplantations. Bone marrow donation demands surgery whereas cord blood stem cell collection poses no medical risk or incisive procedures. Severe graft vs host disease (GvHD) is common with mismatched grafts of bone marrow transplants, but the chances of GvHD is less frequent and easier to treat among the cord blood transplant patients. Umbilical cord blood stem cells are used for transplants and regenerative medicine research. Scientists and experts believe that cord blood and cord tissue stem cells have the potential to revolutionize the future of medicine. 

Monday, 28 December 2015

Steps For Collecting And Preserving Umbilical Cord Blood and Tissue Stem Cells

Umbilical cord blood stem cell banking is rapidly becoming popular among the expectant parents. Being a hot topic of discussion among the scientific and medical community, cord blood banking have been gaining immense popularity across the globe. Though the private cord blood banking prices are higher, chances your family will use the blood is low. Doctors often encourage the expectant parents to donate their newborn’s umbilical cord tissue and cord blood. Donations made to a public cord blood bank are used for several life-saving stem cell transplants and regenerative medicine therapy research. But if your family has a medical history of genetically inherited diseases such as leukaemia, lymphomas, sickle-cell anaemia, immune deficiency disorders, aplastic anaemia and thalassaemia, then you may consider banking your baby’s cord blood privately. Seeking the guidance of your family doctor is strongly recommended before taking an informed decision. 

What are the major steps involved in the cord blood stem cell banking process? If you have decided to bank your infant’s cord blood and umbilical cord tissue, then it is essential to complete the enrollment process in the early stages of pregnancy. Choose a reputed private cord blood bank and sign up for their services. A collection kit will be provided to you upon enrollment. Make it a point to inform your doctor about your cord blood banking decision. Also, remember to carry the kit with you when leaving the hospital for delivery. Right after the child birth, the cord blood and tissue is collected to the sterile bag.  Collection process is simple, safe and quick, as it neither poses any risk to mother or baby. Collected samples are couriered to the cord blood bank through specialized logistics for ensuring safe delivery. As soon as the samples reach the bank, they are individually tested and processed. Stem cells harvested from the cord blood are mixed with cryopreservatives for long term storage. Later, these stem cells are frozen down slowly and then placed inside large stainless steel tanks supplied with liquid nitrogen so that the stem cells remain preserved for decades.

Monday, 14 December 2015

Stem Cell Research – Some FAQs

You might have heard about the advancements surrounding the stem cell research and increasing cord blood pricing issues. You may wonder how stem cell differs from the general human cells and why they are the subject of such vigorous debate. So let us explore more by checking the answers to some frequently asked questions about stem cells. 

What are stem cells?

We can say stem cells are the body’s raw materials – the cells from which specialized cells are
generated. They have a remarkable potential to renew themselves through cell division which help in internal repairing. In some organs such as gut and bone marrow, the damaged cells are repaired and replaced by the stem cells on a routine basis. Another important characteristic that distinguishes stem cells from other cell types is its capability to become an organ-specific cell under certain physiologic or experimental conditions. 

Why Stem cells are important and what are the benefits of stem cell research?

Unique regenerative abilities of the stem cells offer promising medical solutions in treating several debilitating conditions. According to researchers and doctors, the stem cell studies helps in availing a better understanding about how diseases develop in a human body. Regenerative medicine therapy is a remarkable initiative that revolves around the benefits of stem cell research. Since stem cells have the potential to repair and renew, it can be used to treat damaged tissues in people. Drug testing is another notable application of stem cell. Human stem cells are programmed into tissue-specific cells for testing new drugs. Safety and quality of investigational drugs are tested using such programmed stem cells in laboratory. 

What are the sources of stem cells? 

Embryonic stem cells, as the name indicates are found in the embryos that are three to five days old. Bone marrow, fat and most of the adult tissues have adult stem cells. Perinatal stem cells are found in the amniotic fluid and baby’s cord blood. And that is why the medical communities are encouraging the banking of baby’s cord blood and tissue these days.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Ethics of Stem Cell Banking

The field of stem cell research and regenerative medicine has been advancing at a rapid rate over the past decade. For those who are wondering about the hype surrounding stem cell biology - stem cells or master cells have the remarkable property to self-replicate throughout the life of the organism. Moreover, they can give rise to specialized cells which further take the place of damaged or dead cells. Unlike other mature cells that are permanently committed to their function, stem cells have a unique property to renew themselves and develop into specialized cells of the body. Major sources of stem cells include bone marrow, umbilical cord, embryo and adipose tissue. 

Scientists around the world have been striving hard to take advantage of stem cell’s unique
characteristics in order to apply in clinical applications and therapeutics. Stem cell banking is the practice of harvesting stem cells for long storage for transplants or research purpose. However, embryonic stem cell banking has steeped in ethical controversy centered on embryo destruction. That is where the role of umbilical cord stem cell banking takes the limelight. Umbilical cord blood, once discarded as per medical status, is now treasured by the medical communities. The cord blood that provides nourishment to the growing fetus is a great source of stem cells. Nowadays, the umbilical cord blood and tissue is collected right after the child birth. 

Expectant parents have the choice to either store or donate their newborn’s cord blood and umbilical cord tissue. Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) present in the cord blood is used as an effective alternative to bone marrow transplantation whereas Mesenchymal StemCells (MSCs) in umbilical cord tissue can potentially be used in a variety of regenerative medicine and tissue engineering applications. Paying annual private cord blood banking prices may prove worthy for the families with a history of immune deficiency diseases, leukemia, lymphomas and similar conditions.
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