Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Facts about Cord Blood Stem Cell Banking

Advancements in science and technology have transformed the field of healthcare and medicine over
the last decade. Let us take stem cell research as an example. Being one of the promising areas of biomedical research, stem cell biology has received wide attention. According to researchers, stem cell science has the potential to change the scope and future of regenerative medicine. However, harvesting and collection of stem cells is always surrounded by several set of ethical controversies. That is when cord blood stem cell banking came into limelight. Before we delve into the details of cord blood banking, let us find out what cord blood is. As you may know, umbilical cord connects the foetus with placenta and is responsible for providing oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to the growing embryo. After the baby is born, umbilical cord is cut. But even after the child birth, there will be some amount of blood remaining in the umbilical cord and placenta. This is termed as cord blood(CB) or placental blood. Around 180 ml of cord blood can be collected right after the child birth. What makes the umbilical cord blood so valuable? It is the presence of blood forming hematopoietic stem cells that offers a life-saving status to the CB. Not just the cord blood, but the cord tissue also contains Mesenchymal stem cells.

Stem cells harvested from the baby’s cord blood are used to treat several medical conditions such as leukaemia, lymphoma, immune deficiencies and other genetically inherited disorders. Generally, the cancerous cells are destroyed through chemotherapy and radiation procedures. Later, the stem cells are transplanted to restore the function of damaged cells. Cord blood stem cells are an effective alternative to bone marrow transplants. More and more expectant parents are banking their child’s cord blood these days. Those who can’t afford the high costs of cord blood banking are encouraged to donate it to public banks.

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