Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Cord Blood Banking to Insure Your Child’s Health

Cord blood, once discarded as medical waste has gained life-saving status these days. Blood present in the umbilical cord and placenta is a rich source of stem cells. No need to repeat the spiel about the benefits of stem cells. Also known as master cells, these units are considered as the building blocks of human body.  They are capable of dividing and renewing themselves. Though they are unspecialised, these cells can give rise to specialised tissues and cell types. These are some of the significant properties that make stem cells unique. When scientists discovered the abundant presence of stem cells in the umbilical cord tissue and cord blood, it was a milestone in the field of regenerative medicine research. Currently, cord blood stem cells are used to treat more than 80 life threatening conditions whereas the clinical application of umbilical cord tissue is yet under the experimental stage. 

Cord blood or CB contains blood-forming haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and cord tissue contains mesenchymal stem cells. Blood-forming stem cells of CB are used for transplant procedure of leukaemia patients. Some of the major diseases that can be treated with cord blood include leukaemia, blood and bone marrow disorders, cancer and immune deficiencies. Cord blood stem cell transplants are a great alternative to the bone marrow transplants. Ongoing research and advancements have made the cord blood banking and treatments more popular and affordable.

Number of expectant parents opting for the private cord blood banking is rising. Majority of them bank their newborn’s CB as a type of health insurance for the child and family.  On the other hand, parents who can’t afford to bank their baby’s CB may think about donating it to a public cord bank. Stem cells donated to the public bank are not only used for life-saving transplants, but also for research and clinical trials.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Major Benefits of Stem Cell Research

If you have heard about the stem cell research, then you might be familiar with its surrounding controversies also. Stem cells, also known as the master cells have a remarkable potential to treat many life-threatening conditions. Currently, these cells are used for various transplants and medical applications. Moreover, several clinical trials and research works are underway exploring its potential to treat even more debilitating conditions in future. Applications and benefits of stem cell research are many.

Transplants are one of the major applications of stem cell research. Master cells with renewal properties can restore the function of a damaged or dysfunctional cell. However, harvesting the master cells is not an easy task. Until recently, stem cells were collected from bone marrow for the transplants. But the discovery of cell presence in the newborn baby cord blood was a major milestone. Blood left in the placenta and umbilical cord after the child birth contains enormous number of stem cells. Both cord blood and umbilical cord tissue are harvested and stored for treatments and research purpose. Cord blood contains hematopoieticstem cells (HSCs), whereas umbilical cord tissue contains mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). Currently newborn baby cord blood is used for treating more than eighty diseases which includes but are not limited to leukaemia, inherited blood disorders and inherited metabolic disorders. 

Stem cells have the unique ability to differentiate into specialised cell types and can keep on renewing themselves. Such properties can be exploited to treat a wide range of diseases. Regenerative medicine research and studies focus on exploiting the potential of stem cells to reverse diseases. According to the scientists, stem cells can act as an ultimate body repair kit and holds the promise of strengthening body’s natural healing abilities. Some of the promising applications of cord blood banking include the treatment of spinal cord injuries, cardio vascular diseases, Parkinson’s disease, type I diabetes, genetic defects and burn victims. 

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

What is Cord Blood Banking & Why You should opt it?

If you are an expectant parent, then you may have heard about the baby blood cord banking. Like most people, you may be wondering about the special features of the so-called cord blood. What is cord blood and what makes it so special? Blood present in the placenta and umbilical cord is termed as cord blood (CB). In addition to the normal elements of blood such as red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets and plasma, CB is rich in stem cells (Hematopoietic Stem Cells). Powerful stem cells can give rise to any tissue or organ cells of the body. Moreover, these master cells are unspecialised and can be used to replace or repair the tissues that have been damaged by diseases. Not only the cord blood, but the cord tissue also contains Mesenchymal Stem cells (MSCs) that have afforded promise in the treatment of medical conditions affecting cartilage, muscle and nerve cells. According to the scientists, cord tissue benefits and applications have a great role to play in the future of regenerative medicine research.

So now you are clear about what cord blood is. But have you ever thought how stem cells can treat the cancer conditions? Let us consider lymphoma as an example. It is a form of cancer that affects the lymphatic system (Immune system of our body). During the first stage, cancerous cells in the bone marrow are destroyed through chemotherapy and radiation procedures. The next step is to transplant the stem cells in bone marrow so that it can restore the function by producing blood forming cells and tissues of the body. As we mentioned earlier, cord blood stem cells have self-renewal properties which makes it a perfect alternative for bone marrow transplant. Moreover, umbilical cord blood possesses little risk of graft-versus-host disease which helps it to integrate with the body better. Currently, umbilical cord blood is used to treat more than 80 diseases including cancers, blood disorders, immune deficiency conditions and more. So to cut short, baby cord blood banking and cord blood donation is a life-saving medical service that you can opt for.
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