Cord blood, also known as umbilical cord blood, is the blood that remains in the umbilical cord after a baby is born. In order to assure the newborn receives enough blood to prevent anemia and provide adequate iron and ferritin, the cord is usually not clamped for at least two minutes after birth. After the cord has been detached from the baby, the cord blood is collected with a syringe and stored in a cord blood bank.
Cord Blood is stored by means of a cryogenic process – frozen at sub-zero temperatures – cord blood contains stem cells, which are used to treat blood and genetic disorders. Each umbilical cord yields a little over two ounces of blood. The amount of cord blood from a single birth is not enough to treat an adult patient. However, there is ongoing research and testing to increase the uses of cord blood in both adults and children for various types of diseases and ailments.
What is Cord Blood Banking?
Cord blood banking is similar to regular blood banking. Both private and public cord blood banks store the harvested cord blood. Public banks are operated for the good of the general public, while private banks are usually for-profit organizations that store the blood only for the use of the donor or the donor’s relatives. Public banks coordinate their efforts in matching patients to cord blood through the National Marrow Donor Program. Private banks usually charge fees to collect and store cord blood, while public banks are non-profit organizations that accept donations of cord blood. The physician who collects the cord blood may also charge the parents a fee, although many physicians donate their time for this service.
Cord blood banks are regulated under the Food and Drug Administration in the United States. Whether public or private, cord blood banks are eligible for voluntary accreditation with American Association of Blood Banks or the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy. Both accreditation agencies maintain lists of accredited banks that potential donor parents can access.
Cord Blood Uses
Cord blood is used to treat cancers such as leukemia and Hodgkin lymphoma, cancers such as aplastic anemia, sickle cell disease, immune deficiency diseases and some metabolic disorders. Cord blood is also used in regenerative medicine – developing treatments to repair or re-grow specific tissue in the body. The use of cord blood for treating brain injury, type 1 diabetes, stroke and hearing loss is already being studied in humans. Other possible cord blood uses include the repair of injured cardiac tissue and treatment of cerebral palsy.
There are numerous ongoing research studies on various cord blood uses. Cord Blood Reviews provides the latest news and research information so you can keep up-to-date as this new medical field progresses.