Cord blood banking is something you have probably heard something about, because it is a very popular trend among new parents. Cord blood banking is done during the delivery process of a newborn, and it is when a nurse places a needle into the umbilical cord to get blood and stem cells. The blood and stem cells can also be taken from the placenta, and some parents choose to have some blood taken from each area. The cord blood and the stem cells within it are then collected, packaged, and taken to a cord blood bank, and it is here that the cord blood is looked through so that only viable stem cells are pulled out. Once the cord blood sample has been checked out, the special bank stores the blood for you, and then if you need the cord blood during a medical emergency you can just get it out, and the cord blood can last for over 15 years in the bank. Recently, new uses for the cord blood have been discovered by researchers and doctors, and here are just some of the new ways you can use cord blood.
One new use for cord blood is something that is known as autologous treatments, these are treatments specifically designed for the person that the cord blood is being harvested from. When you use cord blood from your child to treat a medical condition the success rate is 100%, since the stem cells being used are from the child. Autologous cord blood treatments are better when dealing with many medical conditions because it significantly shortens the time between diagnosis and treatment. The quicker you can get started on treating a disease, the better chance you have at survival or overcoming the illness. This has lead to quicker treatments for many diseases, which means the disease is caught before it can progress, and this has lead to many lives of children being saved.
The cord blood that you bank could also be used for what is known as allogeneic use, which means that you can use the cord blood from one of your children to save another one of your children. This type of use is for siblings that might have an inherited genetic medical condition, such as Sickle-cell anemia. Using cord blood to help a sibling has about a 75% success rate of being a match. New technology has led to over 60% of all cord blood banking to be used on the siblings of the cord blood donor, and this is because the cord blood can now be stored for longer periods of time.
Neuroblastoma is one of the many cancers that can be treated using cord blood, but usually you still have to go through chemotherapy and radiation. The blood cells are basically re-introduced into the body in a similar fashion of a regular blood transfusion. Since the stem cells are cleaned and separated during the initial cord banking process, it eliminates a lot of the work that needs to be done prior to the procedure, and this all part of a new process of banking the cord blood. This blood transfusion is done within a week of intensive chemotherapy and radiation, since the goal is to target the cancer cells as possible before introducing new blood into the system. The procedure only takes about an hour or two, and rapidly the blood cells travel down to the bone marrow, which is where new cell generation occurs.
There are a lot of other new medical uses for cord blood as well, such as treating diseases that used to be considered life-threatening or progressive. Bone marrow diseases such as juvenile dermatomyositis, Kostmann’s syndrome, Red cell aplasia, Shwachman syndrome, and Evan’s syndrome are now being treated with cord blood. Blood diseases and disorders like Sickle-cell anemia, HbSC disease, and Cooley’s anemia also benefit from cord blood. Immune disease disorders such as Omenn’s syndrome, Reticular dysplasia, Thymic dysplasia, among many other immune diseases are known to respond to cord blood treatment. Metabolic diseases can now also be treated using cord blood such as Hunter syndrome, Sandhoff Syndrome, Tay-Sachs Disease, and Lesch-Nyhan disease. Diabetes and cerebral palsy are still in the middle of being clinically tested to determine whether or not cord blood is suitable as a treatment, but researchers are confident that these two common diseases will soon be added to the list as well.