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Does Storing of Umbilical Cord Beneficial?

After birth of a baby and cutting of the umbilical cord, some blood remains in the placenta and the umbilical cord that remains attached to it. The baby doesn't need this extra blood anymore after birth. Placental blood or umbilical blood is known as cord blood
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After the birth of a baby and cutting of the umbilical cord, some blood remains in the placenta and the umbilical cord that remains attached to it. The baby doesn't need this extra blood anymore after birth. Placental blood or umbilical blood is known as cord blood. Cord blood contains all the normal blood elements-red blood cells, white blood cells, plasma, and platelets. But it is also rich in stem cells that are hematopoietic (blood-forming), similar to those found in the bone marrow. For this reason, cord blood can be used as an alternative to bone marrow for transplantation. Along with this, the umbilical cord known as cord tissue can also be used for the extraction of stem cells.

Cord blood stem cells can be used to treat certain conditions of health, which is why an increasing number of parents are considering storing the cord blood of their child. The immune system of a baby is less mature, so it is more likely to be compatible than stem cells from other sources when their cord blood is used as a source for stem cells. Cord blood can be collected and stored in advance, so when needed it is readily available. The method of how the cord blood is collected, transported, processed and stored by the cord blood bank affects the quantity and quality of stem cells in a cord blood unit. Stem cells from cord blood can be banked for various use by the primary donor which is known as an autologous donation or donated by some other person known as an allogenic donation.

Cord blood offers donors and transplant recipients a number of benefits:
  • Easy to collect – While collecting the cord blood there is no pain neither any type of risk to the mother or the baby. The process of a collection can be performed very easily at the time of birth. It is done after cutting the umbilical cord and then the blood is transported to the laboratory for further processing.
  • The collection of cord blood is a safe, simple procedure. The National Cord Blood Program staff at the New York Blood Center collects cord blood from the delivered placenta in a manner that does not interfere with mother or newborn baby care. Therefore, the collection does not pose a risk to the mother or baby.
  • For the successful method of stem cell transplant the stem cells must be matched with the recipients and from the private banks you will get the stem cells of your own family members that will become a match for the recipient.
  • The stem cell of the same person makes a perfect match for the recipient. Siblings make 25% chances of a perfect match and 50% change of the partial match. Parents have a 100% chance of getting a partial match. So, it is a better option of doing private cord blood banking.
  • For anyone who might need it in the future, cord blood is donated in advance. All routine testing will be completed and the unit will be stored frozen and ready for use. It can be reserved immediately if a match is found. Confirmatory HLA typing is usually completed within 5 days and any special testing is required. There is no need to take time, unlike bone marrow, to locate a possible volunteer and then determine if he or she is still willing and able to donate.
  • Studies have shown that in cases where donor and recipient are partially matched, cord blood transplants can be performed. By contrast, in most cases, bone marrow grafts require matching 8/8.
  • Immune cells in cord blood appear to be less likely to attack the patient's own tissues than those in bone marrow from unrelated donors.
  • A patient’s own stem cells, as well as umbilical
  • cord blood stem cells, have reduced the risk of graft vs host disease. It mainly occurs if the stem cells used for transplantation is taken from some other person.

In addition to this cord blood, cord the tissue is also having some benefits of their own.
  • It is having the ability to form new stem cells
  • They have a higher yield, which means that the amount of stem cells extracted from the tissue are more than the number of stems cells extracted from some other sources.
  • The proliferation rate of these stem cells is higher than other stem cells; that is, they can reproduce to a higher number. 
  • These stem cells have the power of migration which means that the can transport to the site of damage and regenerate the damaged tissues.
  • The collection is also very easily such as the cord blood. At the time of the birth of a baby, the cord blood is collected. Then a few inches of the cord is cut and cleaned with antifungal and antibacterial solution. Then the cord is cut into 4 pieces and is stored by the process of cryopreservation.

As an alternative to the bone marrow, cord blood is increasingly being used experimentally as a source of stem cells. Most transplants of cord blood were performed in patients with diseases of the blood and immune system. For patients with genetic or metabolic diseases, cord blood transplants were also performed. With unrelated cord blood transplants, more than 80 different diseases have been treated to date. Till now cord blood stem cells were used for more than 40,000 stem cell transplantation all over the world. The stem cells were collected from the stem cell banks are used for transplantation which helps to regenerate the immune system and to treat various diseases.

Scientists are also investigating more than 100 clinical trials for the advancement in the present applications of the cord blood. They are also studying the possibility that stem cells in cord blood which can replace cells in other tissues such as nerve or heart cells. It will be learned from this research whether cord blood can be used to treat other types of diseases. So, by knowing about the above benefits of cord blood banking; the storage of stem cells from cord blood will increase in the future.

Author Bio: Adriana Frederick has been associated with the health industry for a long time. In her leisure, she loves writing articles. Through her articles, you can obtain knowledge on various stemcell preservation, Stem cell banking, cord blood banking.

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