Thursday, 28 May 2015

Benefits of Banking Cord Blood & Cord Tissue

The field of stem cell research have made significant stride in the recent years and the discovery of stem cell presence in umbilical cord blood was one of the remarkable achievements. Have you been thinking what exactly cord blood is? Blood left in the umbilical cord and placenta is termed as the cord blood (CB). Until recently, both the umbilical cord and placenta were discarded as medical waste right after the child birth. But during the 1970s, researchers discovered that the umbilical cord blood is a rich source of stem cells. Also known as the master cells, adult stem cells possess remarkable potential to develop into a complete array of tissue and organ cells of the body. Cord blood contains haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) that are responsible for maintaining blood production in our body. On the other hand, cord tissue contains Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs) that have the potential to differentiate into cartilage cells, bone cells and fat cells. Several clinical trials are underway exploring the therapeutical cord tissue benefits and applications. 

Currently, umbilical cord blood is used to treat more than 80 life-threatening diseases. Some of the major conditions include cancers, blood diseases and immune deficiency disorders. HSCs present in the umbilical cord blood develop into red cells, white cells and platelets further restoring the body’s ability to produce blood. Patients with cancerous blood disorders are treated with chemotherapy or radiation, which reduces the stem cells in the bone marrow. Cord blood stem cell transplant helps to replace the damaged blood forming cells with healthy HSCs. Since the collection of cord blood is easier and probability of complications is slighter, CB transplants have become a safe and effective alternative to bone marrow stem cell transplants. On the other hand, researchers continue to investigate the therapeutical cord tissue benefits thereby offering promising hope for the treatment of several debilitating conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, stroke, spinal cord injury, diabetes and more.

Monday, 25 May 2015

Why Donate Cord Blood & Tissue?

Stem cells, also known as ‘master cells’ are not only used for research purposes but are also used for clinical practices. Some of the major physical conditions that can be treated with stem cell transplants include cancers, blood disorders, congenital metabolic disorders and immunodeficiency disorders. Benefits of stem cell research are many and that is why researchers have been encouraging the storage and preservation of cord blood cells and tissues.

You can either store your newborn’s cord blood in a reliable private bank offering family cord blood services or donate it to a public bank. CB given to a private bank is processed and frozen in cryogenic storage tanks for long-term preservation. Storing the umbilical cord blood tissue can cost you a pretty penny, whereas donating the CB to a public bank is free. If you can’t afford the expensive costs of private family cord blood banking services, then it is advised to donate it rather than throwing it away. Cancer patients who need stem cell transplants might be looking for a donor and they rely on the public bank donations. Your donation to the public cord blood bank can be a life-saving match for cancer patients and can give them a second chance at life. 

If you have decided to donate your baby’s cord blood and cord blood tissue, then it is important for you to sign up for the process in between the 28th and 34th week of pregnancy. Speak with your doctor for availing more information and guidance. Public cord blood banks have several set of guidelines and eligibility criteria. Go through the details before signing up for the donation. Moreover, you need to submit a consent form and also complete a questionnaire about your maternal and family health. Last but not the least, your blood sample will be collected and screened for infectious diseases in order to ensure the safety of transplant patients.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Donating Your Baby’s Cord Blood

Great advancements have been reported in the field of stem cell research in the recent years. With several research and clinical trials underway, the future of stem cell banking and regenerative medicine therapy looks promising. While embryonic stem cell research is surrounded by ethical controversies and moral hazards, scientists have been shifting their focus to alternate sources of stem cells. That is how umbilical cord stem cell banking gained its name and fame over the past decade. Presence of the master cells in the new born baby’s cord blood was a new milestone in the history of stem cell banking and research. But the topic of cord blood banking is confusing for both the expectant parents and the medical community. 

The most important thing which  the expectant parents should know about their newborn’s cord blood
is that it has an immense potential to treat more than 80 life threatening conditions including different forms of cancer, inherited metabolic disorders and other debilitating diseases. Newborn baby’s cord blood contains Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) which develop into blood-related cells in the body, while the cord tissue contains Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) which develops into structural and connective tissues. Both the HSCs and MSCs are subjected to a set of progressive clinical trials and is expected to cure several disorders such as spinal cord injury, diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s'disease, Alzheimer’s , lung disease, arthritis and organ failures.

Expectant parents can either donate or store their baby’s umbilical cord blood. If you donate the cord blood, then it will be stored in a public banking facility. Patients who are in need for stem cell transplants are benefitted from the cord blood stored in the public banks. When you want your baby’s cord blood stored for you and your family, then private banking is the ideal option. Both the private and public cord blood banking facilities work in compliance with the federal regulations and meet stringent quality standards. Expectant parents who find it hard to afford the highly expensive private cord blood pricing may think about the public bank donations, where it can be used to treat someone else.
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