One decision that you must make when having a child is whether you want to save the umbilical cord blood through blood banking due to its potential many uses. It consists of the blood that is in the placenta after childbirth and contains stem cells including hematopoietic cells. Cord Blood is currently being used in and/or tested in over 75 different life threatening diseases. Diseases that can benefit from treatment using cord blood include certain cancers, genetic diseases, blood disorders and immune system deficiencies.
Cord Blood Collection
The doctor removes cord blood from the placenta through the umbilical cord once it has been cut from an infant. The stem cells in the umbilical cord themselves are generally limited and not plentiful enough to treat an adult if necessary. The placenta itself has approximately 10 times more than the umbilical cord alone.
Approximately 45,000 to 50,000 cell transplants are required each year and could benefit through the use of cord blood treatment or by bone marrow transplants worldwide if the stem cells were available. Treatment using cord blood helps to treat life-threatening malignant and non-malignant diseases. Some diseases have been using hematopoietic cells for treatment for years, while others are relatively new to benefitting from their use and still undergoing extensive testing and research.
Cord Blood Uses
Various lymphomas and leukemias are treatable with stem cell including acute myelogenous leukemia, acute lymphoblastic leukemia, chronic myelogenous leukemia, juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia, Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Over 2,200 patients have had successful stem cell transplants to treat these conditions through the use of cord blood banking and donation from the National Cord Blood Program statistics.
Those who suffer from blood disorder such as sickle-cell anemia, HbSC disease and thalassemia major have also successfully benefitted from the use of cord blood treatment. Scientists are currently conducting research to determine whether stem cells can be harvested and used to treat other diseases including diabetes, cerebral palsy and even brain damage.
Cord blood uses are highly publicized and becoming more popular for treating diseases for which there is no cure. Public cord banks exist to benefit the public and function by accepting public donations of cord blood. Private cord banks allow individuals to store the cord blood for a fee for their personal use.
It is highly recommended to store the cord blood if there is a history of genetic disorders or cancers in the family. Cord blood has only recently been used to treat adults suffering from these illnesses. Research continues on a daily basis worldwide to discover other potential benefits that cord blood banking offers and there is plenty of room for future research to hopefully maximize their potential while increasing availability to those needing assistance.