Tuesday, 3 November 2015

All About Umbilical Cord Blood

Placenta and umbilical cord are the two crucial support systems of a healthy pregnancy. Placenta not only provides nourishment to the growing fetus but also takes away the waste from the fetus to mother’s system for excretion.  The cord structure that connects placenta to the fetus is called umbilical cord. Known as the lifeline between mother and baby, umbilical cord carries oxygenated blood from placenta to baby through its vein and takes away deoxygenated blood from baby to placenta through its arteries. 

Blood present in the umbilical cord, which was once considered as a medical waste, is now known to be a valuable resource. Abundant presence of stem cells in the newborn’s umbilical cord blood (CB) makes it a lifesaving resource and that is why the medical community is encouraging the storage of cord blood stem cells. Used to treat more than 70 types of diseases including leukemia, lymphoma, sickle-cell disease, metabolic disorders and some inherited disorders, newborn’s umbilical cord blood holds a promising future in regenerative medicine therapies. 

Several clinical trials are still underway, where scientists and researchers are striving harder to unlock and tap into the potential of cord blood and cord tissue stem cells. Unlike the bone marrow stem cell harvesting, cord blood collection and stem cell banking is a painless procedure that doesn’t require any invasive methods. Easy and quick CB collection carried out immediately after the delivery neither hurts the mother nor the baby. Expectant parents may check out informative cord blood banking videos and webinar sessions to explore the benefits and downsides of CB. 

The first successful cord blood stem cell transplant took place in 1988 at Hospital Saint-Louis in Paris. Performed for treating Fanconi's anemia, this transplantation was a new milestone in the history of stem cell research. The patient was a five year old boy named Matthew Farrow and he received the donor stem cells from his newborn baby sister. Since then, cord blood stem cell banking and donations have reported a surging growth and popularity.

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