Wednesday, 3 June 2015

What is Cord Blood & Cord Tissue?

If you are an expectant parent, then you might be probably busy with a lot of planning such as meeting the doctor, discussing different health issues, setting up the nursery, planning the baby shower and more. But have you ever thought about banking your new-born’s cord blood? Most of us will agree that it is one of the rarely discussed topics. But having a detailed understanding about the medical benefits of cord blood (CB) can help you in taking informed decisions regarding its banking. First of all, let’s find out what cord blood is. As we all know umbilical cord connects a baby in the womb to its mother and provides him with oxygen and nutrients. And that is why umbilical cord is considered as the lifeline of developing embryo or foetus. Soon after the child birth, this cord is cut and discarded away. But now research has shown that the blood present in the baby’s cord contains adult stem cells. Umbilical cord blood tissue, being a rich source of stem cells can be collected and stored for several therapeutical applications and research purposes. 

Not just the blood present in the cord, but even the tissue of the umbilical cord is used in the field of stem cell research and regenerative medicine therapy. Collection ofcord blood and tissue is a quick and pain-less procedure carried out right after the child birth. But what exactly is the difference between cord blood and cord tissue? CB is a rich source of blood-forming cells or Haematopoietic Stem Cells (HSCs), whereas umbilical cord tissue contains Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) that can differentiate into a variety of cell types. Another notable difference is that while cord blood has been used for treating more than 80 diseases, cord tissue is only available in clinical trials at this point of time. But according to the researchers, the future of cord tissue stem cell based therapy looks bright and promising. Expectant parents who wish to reap the therapeutical benefits of CB may consider banking it. Those who can’t afford the higher cord blood banking prices can also donate their new-born’s cord blood.
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