Researchers claimed that stem cells from babies' umbilical cords resemble in hematopoietic feature what bone marrow cells contain. These stem cells have shown their capability of generating different types of cells of organs present in our body. Due to this versatility, uses of cord blood cell are prevalent in treatment of disorders that surface in various organs. However, records state that most of the recipients of cord blood stem cell transplants are ailing from blood disorders.
Along with banks that keep your money, there are other banks, which possess a high level of importance for storing umbilical cord blood cells. An umbilical cord blood bank allows parents or legal guardians to store cells extracted from the umbilical cord blood and placenta for use in future for the well-being of the newborn child or its family members.
Collection, processing and storage of blood cells found in your child's umbilical cord are managed by highly specialized teams of professionals. These cord blood cells are miraculous healing cells and can be stored only once in a lifetime, therefore, careful measures should be taken in order to select a cord blood bank.
Parents can make the decision to preserve the cord blood before the baby is born. They need to fill out a donor consent form ahead of time and allow the doctor and hospital know the intent to send the blood to the bank. The placenta and umbilical cord are then saved after the birth and sent to the bank.
Once at the bank, the cord blood is tested to ensure that it meets basic standards. Then it is treated and placed into special containers for preservation. The exact length of storage is unknown at this time, however, cord stem cells that were stored for fifteen years were successfully used with no degradation.
After collection, the samples are transferred to the cord blood bank labs to be processing and cryopreserving.
The blood is tested for diseases like sickle cell anemia, malaria, and AIDS. The cord blood processing steps mainly include separation and removal of the red blood cells. The temperature of the cord blood unit is slowly reduced in order to avoid shock.
Researchers of Duke University and University of North Carolina from Chapel Hill claimed to show outstanding progress in treating this disease with cord blood cells. Researchers state that newborn cord blood cell recipients, with no symptoms of Krabbe disease, have greater possibility of recovery than older babies.
Instances abound of the success of cord blood stem cells in treating various disorders. Cord blood preservation may sound expensive initially, but one cannot deny the potential a single unit of cord blood possesses. There will soon be a day when diseases such as Lymphoproliferative disease, Thalassemia and Fanconi Anemia will no longer be difficult to cure.
Why do we need to preserve the cord blood? Bone marrow stem cells should be enough. Well, there are still debates on this issue. There is one point that everyone agrees with. That is, umbilical cord blood has more stem cells than the bone marrow does. On the other hand, unlike the cord blood, adult donor blood is not limited by quantity. However, cord blood stem cells are more flexible compared to the bone marrow cells. Very rarely is it seen that a patient's body has rejected the cord blood stem cells.
Cord blood banks accept any type of blood from the donors. If the blood units are mixed, the patient runs a risk of infection. Here again, it is important to say that not all the blood cells are considered eligible due to the medical history, maternal history, collection volume of the samples etc.
When the parents agree for a cord blood registry, they undergo a series of tests to ensure that the blood is fit for storage. Even if there are any complications during pregnancy, the plan for cord blood collection is immediately abandoned. Studies state that around 71 per cent of samples are rejected.