Thursday, 26 February 2015

Banking Cord Blood: How It Works

We have been hearing a lot about the magical cure of stem cells and regenerative medicine therapy over the last decade. Latest developments in the study of stem cell research offer a promising approach to revolutionise the future of medicine. Self renewal capacity and unspecialised nature of the master cells have the limitless potential to cure different diseases. Blood present in the umbilical cord has been found to be a rich source of stem cells. This realization has lead to the introduction of newborn’s cord blood banking services. Pros associated with cord blood banking are many and that is why the researchers and doctors advise the expectant parents to bank it or donate it.

Cord blood is used for the stem cell transplants that can treat more than 80 life-threatening diseases including leukaemia, bone marrow disease, sickle cell anaemia and lymphoma. Stem cells also help the body to recover from the after-effects of chemotherapy and radiation. Moreover, if a family has a medical history of genetically inherited disorders, then it is strongly recommended to bank the umbilical cord tissue and cord blood. Your baby’s genetically unique stem cells can be a close match for your family members, which will cut down the unnecessary complications. Mesenchymal Stem cells (MSCs) present in the umbilical cord tissue has the potential to treat different types of bone and cartilage disorders. Several clinical trials are underway researching the role of cord tissue in treat debilitating conditions. 

Collecting the newborn’s cord blood is a simple, quick and painless procedure that poses no threat to the mother or the baby. Right after the delivery, the umbilical cord is clamped and cut by the medical provider. A needle is inserted into the umbilical vein to drain out the cord blood to the sterile collection bag. The blood is shipped to cord blood banking facilities where it is processed and frozen with liquid nitrogen for long-term storage. Expectant parents who can’t afford the processing and storage prices of cord blood banking services may think about donating it to a public bank. The bottom line here is that cord blood banking is an important decision that expectant parents should not take lightly. Having a brief discussion with your doctor will prove helpful in making an informed decision.

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