Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Bone Marrow Transplant Versus Cord Blood Stem Cell Transplant

Significant strides and breakthroughs in the medical research and healthcare have helped the physicians to diagnose and treat patients better. Let us consider the field of stem cell research. Scientists have been striving hard to tap into the potential of master cells in curing wide and extensive array of diseases. Several discoveries were made over the past decade and the use of baby cord blood for stem cell transplants was just one of them. Umbilical cord blood that connects an embryo to the placenta serves an integral role of providing nutrients to the growing fetus. Discovery of stem cell presence in the cord blood and cord tissue was a major milestone in the history of stem cell research. Blood forming hematopoietic stem cells present in the cord blood can develop into red cells, white cells or platelets, which makes it capable of curing different types of debilitating conditions including genetic disorders, immune deficiencies and blood disorders. On the other hand, umbilical cord tissue contains Mesenchymal stem cells that can develop into different skeletal tissues such as cartilage, bone and fat.

Cord blood, being a rich source of blood forming stem cells can be used for the transplants among leukemia patients so as to restore the body’s ability to make blood and immune cells. That is the reason why medical community and scientists have been encouraging the banking and donation of baby cord blood. Private and public cord blood stem cell banking services are available to the expectant parents. Blood stored in the private bank will be solely for the family whereas cord blood donated to the public bank will be used for life saving transplants and research purpose. Great shelf life, lower risk of viral contamination, higher flexibility and lower incidence rates of graft versus host disease are some of the major benefits that makes cord blood stem cells a better alternative over bone marrow transplants.

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