Advice Column, Cyrosave, Health, Lifestyle, Pregnancy, Pregnancy & Baby, Recently

Unlocking the Future of Healthcare: What is Cord Blood- and Tissue Stem Cell Banking?

  • CRYOSAVE
  • Category Advice Column, Cyrosave, Health, Lifestyle, Pregnancy, Pregnancy & Baby, Recently

As parents with a newborn on the way, nothing is more valuable than your child’s health. The umbilical cord functions as the baby’s support throughout pregnancy, by connecting them to the placenta. It serves as a source of oxygen, providing them with nutrition and antibodies. The umbilical cord, cord tissue, and placenta have historically been discarded; however, more parents are storing (or “banking”) their baby’s cord blood and cord tissue for possible future use.

Cord blood is the blood left inside your baby’s umbilical cord after delivery. The umbilical cord blood is a rich source of stem cells, these “precursor” cells are exceptional because they can mature or grow into different types of blood cells, such as platelets, red blood cells, and white blood cells. It also contains special types of stem cells as found in bone marrow, that can help improve the immune system. Therefore, cord blood stem cells are perfect for treating many of the diseases that can affect the immune and blood system (1).

Cord blood stem cells help treat several diseases like leukemia, genetic disorders, diseases of the immune system and much more. Cord blood stem cells have the ability to treat more than 80 approved conditions and are being studied in more than 7,600 clinical trials for numerous regenerative therapies. Today, cord blood banking is already changing lives and there have already been more than 40,000 cord blood transplants around the world since the 1980s (2).

Currently, new therapies are continually being developed to use these stem cells. Additionally, stem cells found in the umbilical cord tissue and placenta can also be banked.

The umbilical cord itself is also a rich source of mesenchymal stem cells and these stem cells are found in the “Wharton’s Jelly”. As with cord blood-forming stem cells, these tissue-forming stem cells are also a rich and powerful source of stem cells. Both these types of stem cells have strong regeneration and differentiation capacity, possess a high level of stem cells, exhibit less immune rejection, and have fewer DNA mutations, are easily accessible and valuable stem cell sources.

Cord tissue contains various exceptional cell types, which might in the future provide therapies for heart disease, spinal cord injury, autism, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, and many more. In the correct environments and given the right signals, the umbilical cord stem cells can differentiate into many different cell types. As a result, they are very valuable in treating an increasing selection of medical conditions where specialised cells are injured and need replacing (3).

The term ‘cord blood banking‘ means saving the newborn stem cells found in the blood of the umbilical cord, tissue and/or the placenta. Once the baby is born, it is possible to collect these cells and bank them in cryogenic storage for many years (currently CryoSave saves these stem cells for an initial period of 20 years, after which the period can be extended). The stem cells in cord blood can be collected without any risk to the baby or mother. This is the only chance you will get to store these types of stem cells – in the moments after birth. You can store the most powerful source of stem cells within minutes after birth if you choose to bank your baby’s cord blood and tissue. The cord blood and cord tissue stem cells are younger, have less exposure to harmful environmental factors or disease and are more “unspoiled” than adult stem cells.

Storing your baby’s own cord blood safeguards that they will always have immediate access to their own stem cells which is a perfect stem cell match. Thus, any stem cell treatment or future possible organ replacement is available without the chance of rejection. Your baby’s stem cells may also be a match for a sibling (25%) and is always a partial match for the parents (50%).

Cord blood banking is non-invasive and should have no impact on your birth plan or delivery process.

Your gynaecologist or midwife can perform the collection after your baby is safely delivered. Once they collect the cord blood and a piece of the cord tissue in a sterile manner, and after your maternal bloods have been collected, our dedicated medical couriers will come to the maternity ward to collect the sample and bring it directly back to our laboratory. The cord blood and tissue will be processed, cryopreserved and cryogenically stored for 20 years or more, according to our AABB standard approved procedures. Various other tests will be performed to ascertain the number of stem cells, viability, sterility, recovery percentage and maternal infectious marker status.

CryoSave understands that the day of the birth of your baby is one of the most significant days of your life. We make the process as seamless as possible from beginning to end. Once you have decided to bank your baby’s stem cells with us, we will organise everything for you. On the day of the birth, you only have to ensure that you take the Collection Kit with you. Your gynaecologist or midwife will perform the stem cell collection using the items found in your collection kit. We will assist to arrange for a nurse to draw the maternal bloods if required. All you have to do is call CryoSave and we will arrange collection using our dedicated courier to pick up the sample. CryoSave will take care of everything else for you.

Your newborn may form part of the next generation to survive beyond 100 years of age. The likelihood is they will need stem cells to keep healthy. These umbilical cord blood and tissue stem cells, in the future, could be used for the treatment of diseases for your baby and even your family and will repair and heal damaged tissue or even regenerate organs.

This is why over 4 million families worldwide have chosen to protect their baby’s health by banking their cord blood and tissue.

 


References:

  • Waller-Wise R. Umbilical cord blood: information for childbirth educators. J Perinat Educ. 2011 Winter;20(1):54-60. doi: 10.1891/1058-1243.20.1.54. PMID: 22211060; PMCID: PMC3209739.
  • Gratwohl A et al. “One million haemopoietic stem-cell transplants: a retrospective observational study.” Lancet Haematology 2015 Mar;2(3):e91-100 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26687803
  • Doi, H., Kitajima, Y., Luo, L. et al. Potency of umbilical cord blood- and Wharton’s jelly-derived mesenchymal stem cells for scarless wound healing. Sci Rep 6, 18844 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1038/srep18844

About the author

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.