What Is Umbilical Cord Blood?
The umbilical cord connects the fetus with the mother which is cut during delivery and then removed off. The cord blood stem cells are extracted effortlessly with no pain or risk for the baby and the mother. Cord blood refers to the remaining blood inside the umbilical cord encompasses ‘stem cells’ in its entirety, forming the basis of the immune and blood system of the body. This remaining blood which is of no use to the baby anymore is known as umbilical cord blood (in short, cord blood) or placental blood. The cord blood is said to contain normal blood elements, viz. red blood cells, white blood cells, plasma, and platelets. It is high in hematopoietic or blood-forming stem cells, identical to the ones found in bone marrow. As such, cord blood is preferred to bone marrow for transplantation. A majority of cord blood transplants have been executed on patients suffering from the immune system and blood diseases, as well as those experiencing metabolic or genetic diseases. Evidently, over 80 varied diseases have been treated with non-related cord blood transplants till date.
History of Medical Research
During the 1970s, medical researchers confirmed that the umbilical cord blood of humans consisted of similar stem cells prevalent in the bone marrow being used to treat diseases such as leukemia and immune system disorders and further can also be used to save patients. It was in the year 1988 when they were first used for the transplantation purpose in France on a 5-year old boy suffering from Anaemia, and the result has been exemplary since then.
Feeding on this successful treatment, doctors and medical researchers began collecting, freezing and storing cold blood units at cord banks worldwide for treating many major ailments and diseases.
The cord blood of your baby contains stem cells in the majority, which can be otherwise found in our bone marrow. These stem cells are regarded as master cells that have the capacity to produce all of the mature cells within our immune system and blood system, basically forming white blood cells to combat infection and red blood cells carrying oxygen and platelets to encourage clotting and cells of the immune system.
Treatable Disorders and Diseases
Umbilical cord blood cells have alone treated diseases like lymphoma, leukemia, sickle cell diseases, anemia, retinoblastoma, neuroblastoma, and acute combined immunodeficiency, in addition to other less-terrible diseases. Further research is going on to treat worst diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, strokes, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, and lupus by way of transplantation of umbilical cord stem cells.