By now, this is old news to everyone: stems cells can and have been extensively used to save lives: both the lives of those who provide the genetic material at birth for their own future use and the lives of family members or even strangers who find compatible samples from unknown donors in public blood banks.
A recent example is that of an Indian mother with a child diagnosed with thalassemia majora who then had two twins and stored their cord blood at the Dubai Cord Blood and Research Center. As the blood type of the twins matched the blood of the first-born, he was successfully treated against his disease. The cord blood collected from the umbilical cords of newborn babies is an important source of blood-forming or hematopoietic stem cells that can also be found in the peripheral blood or in the bone marrow of adults after some preliminary treatments.
The cells extracted from cord blood have been successfully used for treatment of more than 70 diseases, including leukemia, lymphomas, Hodgkins disease or other forms of blood cancer, or to treat immune deficiencies or metabolic diseases (e.g. Krabbe disease or Sanfilippo Syndrome).
Once transplanted into a new patient, the hematopoietic stem cells (HTCs) are able to make new blood cells healthy ones to replace the cells damaged by the severe disease or the aggressive medical treatment used to treat it, such as chemotherapy. Thus, cord blood transplant can be used on some patients as a viable alternative to bone marrow transplant.
Even though cord blood transplant leaves room for future developments or scientific breakthroughs, for the time being, it still has some limitations. The main limitation is that the blood collected from a single umbilical cord does not hold enough hematopoietic stem cells, which is, according to scientists, the main reason why treatments on adults are still difficult (as adults needs a lot more HSCs than children). This inconvenience has been dealt with by using cord blood from two umbilical cords for blood transplants into adults or larger children.
Extensive research is under way for new uses of the cord blood samples. Nowadays, children in clinical trials are treated for cerebral palsy, autism, hydrocephalus, traumatic brain injury, oxygen deprivation at birth, congenital heart defects and type I diabetes using their own cord blood stem cells. Additional note:
If you are en expecting mother living in Toronto, you will be happy to know that, in Canada, like anywhere else in the world, cord blood is collected immediately after birth. It is a simple, painless medical procedure, both for the mother and for the baby.
A needle is inserted into the umbilical vein of the cord attached to the placenta and 1 5 ounces of cord blood are collected in a bag. The whole process takes less than 10 minutes. Then, the blood is sent to a cord blood bank for testing, processing and cryopreservation if it meets the required quality standards. For fast and reliable shipping, you can always count on this Rush courier, Toronto, to safely deliver your babys cord blood in due time to the cord blood bank of your choice.
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