Umbilical cord blood is an important break through of the scientific research taken up in recent years. This blood is collected from the placenta and umbilical cord, after a woman gives birth to a child, and contains stem cells. These stem cells are used for the treatment of genetic disorders, as well as hematopoietic disorders.
There are many other sources of stem cells or bone marrow, however, cord blood is considered important, because it offers many advantages over other sources. The advantages include a high rate of engraftment, non-contamination with latent viruses, lower rate of severe disease which can be transferred from graft to host, provides more tolerance from tissue mismatch.
Cord blood is preserved in special facilities. It is a perfect match for the child from whom it was collected in case of any disease or emergency. On the other hand, it might also match with any of the siblings, or any other family member. Cord blood is important because it contains stem cells. These stem cells are the master cells. They produce red blood cells, white blood cells, as well as platelets in our body. Cord blood can play a crucial role treating different diseases such as Leukemia, Sickle cell disease, Hodgkin’s disease, lymphoma, anemia, and deficiency of immune system, as well as any other metabolic disease that is inherited. Major problem with stem cell transplant, is finding the perfect match, which is rarely possible for people suffering from these diseases. Apart from that, there is also a possibility of donating it to someone else.
Cord blood transplant has shown an equal ratio of success, as compared to bone marrow transplants. Cord blood offers more advantages than bone marrow, because it is easily collected from the umbilical cord, and has a better tolerance from mismatching of HLA. On the other hand, cord blood can also be donated to research institutions, for research on different uses of stem cells. Instead of discarding the umbilical cord at the hospital, it could play an important role in saving your child’s or a family member’s life.
The storage procedure for cord blood is very simple. A specialized kit is used for this purpose, and the entire procedure does not in any way harm the mother or the baby. With proper storage conditions, these stem cells can be stored for decades, and can be used at any time.