Umbilical cord blood was once discarded as medical waste but today, stem cells found in this blood are preserved for treatment of several diseases. Doctors prefer using the blood in stem cell transplantation therapies. It is because this blood is more tolerant of a new host and can be used without full matching.

Pediatric and adult patients with bone marrow failures, immune deficiencies, certain cancers and genetic diseases can benefit from hematopoietic cell transplant. Genetic diseases including inborn errors of hemoglobinopathies and metabolism can also be cured with this therapy.

By opting umbilical cord preservation, your child becomes eligible for autologous treatments, including cancers like neuroblastoma. The child’s cord blood cells can be used in phase II clinical trials for type-1 diabetes and cerebral palsy. The cells can also be used for treating inherited genetic diseases in a sibling. If a child needs a donor, he/she can use the cells of a family member for allogeneic use.

Research on blood and tissue obtained from umbilical cord:

Not just blood but experts are also conducting research on the benefits of cord tissues. Cells found in the blood can regenerate organ tissues, immune system and blood for healing cancers, bone marrow syndromes, metabolic disorders and blood disorders. Clinical trials are being performed to study how the cells can be used in regenerative therapies. Research is also being conducted to determine the benefits of these cells in the treatment of sickle cell anemia.

Cells obtained from the tissue can regenerate other cells along with connective and structural tissues. Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs) are abundant in umbilical cord tissue. It is said to have huge therapeutic potential.

Benefits of cells obtained from umbilical cord:

The procedure of extracting cells from the umbilical blood is painless for the baby and the mother. It doesn’t involve the use of general anesthesia that comes with its inherent risks

  1. Rate of engraftment is higher in cells obtained from this blood. This reduces the risk of contracting Graft-Versus-Host Diseases after a transplant
  2. Cells obtained from umbilical blood are readily accessible. If parents choose a private stem cell umbilical cord bank, matching and searching process won’t take time
  3. Chances of latent virus contamination are less in these cells due to which it gets accepted by the body in a better manner

Cell therapy and regenerative medicine are all set to become the next big thing in medicine. Recently, a $41 million trial as launched by the Duke University for exploring the use of these cells in the treatment of autism, brain disorders, and strokes. A preliminary study is already underway on 20 children and doctors are quite optimistic about the same.

Cells found in umbilical cord blood are driving the popularity of this therapy. According to healthcare experts, progenitor cells obtained from this blood have the capacity to revolutionize treatments. When these cells are infused into the patient they go back to the damaged organ and repair it.

Courtesy by: Avni Shergill