Monday, 28 December 2015

Steps For Collecting And Preserving Umbilical Cord Blood and Tissue Stem Cells

Umbilical cord blood stem cell banking is rapidly becoming popular among the expectant parents. Being a hot topic of discussion among the scientific and medical community, cord blood banking have been gaining immense popularity across the globe. Though the private cord blood banking prices are higher, chances your family will use the blood is low. Doctors often encourage the expectant parents to donate their newborn’s umbilical cord tissue and cord blood. Donations made to a public cord blood bank are used for several life-saving stem cell transplants and regenerative medicine therapy research. But if your family has a medical history of genetically inherited diseases such as leukaemia, lymphomas, sickle-cell anaemia, immune deficiency disorders, aplastic anaemia and thalassaemia, then you may consider banking your baby’s cord blood privately. Seeking the guidance of your family doctor is strongly recommended before taking an informed decision. 

What are the major steps involved in the cord blood stem cell banking process? If you have decided to bank your infant’s cord blood and umbilical cord tissue, then it is essential to complete the enrollment process in the early stages of pregnancy. Choose a reputed private cord blood bank and sign up for their services. A collection kit will be provided to you upon enrollment. Make it a point to inform your doctor about your cord blood banking decision. Also, remember to carry the kit with you when leaving the hospital for delivery. Right after the child birth, the cord blood and tissue is collected to the sterile bag.  Collection process is simple, safe and quick, as it neither poses any risk to mother or baby. Collected samples are couriered to the cord blood bank through specialized logistics for ensuring safe delivery. As soon as the samples reach the bank, they are individually tested and processed. Stem cells harvested from the cord blood are mixed with cryopreservatives for long term storage. Later, these stem cells are frozen down slowly and then placed inside large stainless steel tanks supplied with liquid nitrogen so that the stem cells remain preserved for decades.

Monday, 14 December 2015

Stem Cell Research – Some FAQs

You might have heard about the advancements surrounding the stem cell research and increasing cord blood pricing issues. You may wonder how stem cell differs from the general human cells and why they are the subject of such vigorous debate. So let us explore more by checking the answers to some frequently asked questions about stem cells. 

What are stem cells?

We can say stem cells are the body’s raw materials – the cells from which specialized cells are
generated. They have a remarkable potential to renew themselves through cell division which help in internal repairing. In some organs such as gut and bone marrow, the damaged cells are repaired and replaced by the stem cells on a routine basis. Another important characteristic that distinguishes stem cells from other cell types is its capability to become an organ-specific cell under certain physiologic or experimental conditions. 

Why Stem cells are important and what are the benefits of stem cell research?

Unique regenerative abilities of the stem cells offer promising medical solutions in treating several debilitating conditions. According to researchers and doctors, the stem cell studies helps in availing a better understanding about how diseases develop in a human body. Regenerative medicine therapy is a remarkable initiative that revolves around the benefits of stem cell research. Since stem cells have the potential to repair and renew, it can be used to treat damaged tissues in people. Drug testing is another notable application of stem cell. Human stem cells are programmed into tissue-specific cells for testing new drugs. Safety and quality of investigational drugs are tested using such programmed stem cells in laboratory. 

What are the sources of stem cells? 

Embryonic stem cells, as the name indicates are found in the embryos that are three to five days old. Bone marrow, fat and most of the adult tissues have adult stem cells. Perinatal stem cells are found in the amniotic fluid and baby’s cord blood. And that is why the medical communities are encouraging the banking of baby’s cord blood and tissue these days.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Ethics of Stem Cell Banking

The field of stem cell research and regenerative medicine has been advancing at a rapid rate over the past decade. For those who are wondering about the hype surrounding stem cell biology - stem cells or master cells have the remarkable property to self-replicate throughout the life of the organism. Moreover, they can give rise to specialized cells which further take the place of damaged or dead cells. Unlike other mature cells that are permanently committed to their function, stem cells have a unique property to renew themselves and develop into specialized cells of the body. Major sources of stem cells include bone marrow, umbilical cord, embryo and adipose tissue. 

Scientists around the world have been striving hard to take advantage of stem cell’s unique
characteristics in order to apply in clinical applications and therapeutics. Stem cell banking is the practice of harvesting stem cells for long storage for transplants or research purpose. However, embryonic stem cell banking has steeped in ethical controversy centered on embryo destruction. That is where the role of umbilical cord stem cell banking takes the limelight. Umbilical cord blood, once discarded as per medical status, is now treasured by the medical communities. The cord blood that provides nourishment to the growing fetus is a great source of stem cells. Nowadays, the umbilical cord blood and tissue is collected right after the child birth. 

Expectant parents have the choice to either store or donate their newborn’s cord blood and umbilical cord tissue. Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) present in the cord blood is used as an effective alternative to bone marrow transplantation whereas Mesenchymal StemCells (MSCs) in umbilical cord tissue can potentially be used in a variety of regenerative medicine and tissue engineering applications. Paying annual private cord blood banking prices may prove worthy for the families with a history of immune deficiency diseases, leukemia, lymphomas and similar conditions.
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