Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Cord blood stem cells: Current Uses

Expectant parents have a number of major decisions to make as they prepare to welcome the new member to family. One of the big financial decisions is about banking the cord blood. If you are wondering what is cord blood, then let us explain. The umbilical cord that connects the mother to the growing fetus is cut after the birth. A small amount of blood remains in the blood vessels of the placenta and cord even after the delivery, which is termed as cord blood. In addition to the normal elements of blood (red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets and plasma), cord blood contains multipotent stem cells. These unspecialized cells with self-renewing capabilities can give rise to other cell types. However, the specialization potential of multipotent stem cells is limited to one or more cell lines. Presence of mutipotent stem cells in cord blood and cord tissues makes it life saving resource. And that is why medial communities are encouraging the expectant parents to bank or donate the cord blood rather than throwing it away. Cost of cord blood banking is worthy, especially if your family has a history of genetic disease.

Newborn’s cord blood is used for treating several life threatening disorders including several forms of leukemia, lymphoma and anemia. Hematopoietic stem cells or blood forming stem cells found in the umbilical cord blood is used as an alternative to bone marrow for transplantations. Bone marrow donation demands surgery whereas cord blood stem cell collection poses no medical risk or incisive procedures. Severe graft vs host disease (GvHD) is common with mismatched grafts of bone marrow transplants, but the chances of GvHD is less frequent and easier to treat among the cord blood transplant patients. Umbilical cord blood stem cells are used for transplants and regenerative medicine research. Scientists and experts believe that cord blood and cord tissue stem cells have the potential to revolutionize the future of medicine. 

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