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.

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