The Link between Stem Cell Research and Umbilical Cord Blood by Cells for Life
Introduction In the past, umbilical cords and the blood stored in them used to be thought of as nothing but waste material. However, years of research have now proven that they're actually an important source of stem cells. Not only has cord blood been critical in the treatment of children suffering from blood diseases for about 24 years, research for its use in the treatment of adults has also been going on for quite a while now. In order to understand the ins and outs of this important scientific discovery, we propose to illustrate the link between stem cell research and umbilical cord blood in this presentation.
What Is Cord Blood? Before we start, let's clarify exactly what we mean by â€œcord bloodâ€?. In essence, that biological fluid is what remains in the placenta and umbilical cord of a newborn after his birth. Collection of cord blood (which consists of rare heamatopoietic stem cells) is not threatening to either the mother or the child, which is a big plus in favor of that technique.
The Importance of Stem Cells Stem cells have the power to differentiate into any and all types of cells (from skin to nerve or muscle tissue); it's that pluripotency that makes them so valuable. However, although they are found in the adipose tissue and bone marrow, it can prove to be quite a challenge to harvest them that way. The availability of these cells in the placenta and umbilical cord makes for a much more convenient extracting option.
Cord Blood Treatments Children who are suffering from cancerous blood disorders, including genetic blood diseases and leukemia, can be given cord blood treatments. Once the cord blood has been transplanted, the haematopoietic stem cells start working their magic, replacing the damaged blood cells with healthy ones, and helping the patient slowly recover.
The Advantages of Cord Blood Cord blood shows lots of advantages. This is especially true as compared to bone marrow transplants. Among such benefits, we can note the following. Cord blood is easier to collect The use of cord blood presents an excellent alternative to other treatment options, for the simple reason that it is much easier to obtain than haematopoietic stem cells found in the bone marrow. This makes it a less expensive procedure as well.
The Advantages of Cord Blood It is easy to store There are more than 130 public cord blood banks that are spread out in about 35 countries worldwide. Perfect matching is not required Another advantage of cord blood is that it is less likely to cause complications and lead to auto immune rejections. Unlike bone marrow transplant that requires the patient and the donor to be perfectly matched, cord blood does not include such a requirement. Matching may still be necessary, however, it is not as strict.
Other Potential Uses
The use of cord blood for treatment is still in its infancy; we've only scratched the surface. With reports indicating that, someday, we might be able to produce nerve cells or repair damaged tissues thanks to it, we're just starting to comprehend its huge potential and what medical breakthroughs still lie ahead of us.
Conclusion Umbilical cord blood has, in only a few decades, grown from an impure waste to the bringer of a new hope. Thanks to the stem cells it contains, it has enough power to lead us into a new era, the revolutionary medicine of the 21 century. st
The coming years will be decisive as scientists around the world try and find new ways to use and harness that power...
For more information on the incredible uses of cord blood and stem cells, visit us at: http://www.cellsforlife.com/
Published on Jul 20, 2013
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