We have all heard miraculous stories about stem cells transforming the lives of people throughout the world. Be that treating leukemia, repairing joint injuries or even reversing paralysis. But where do these stem cells come from?
Good question. Currently the majority of stem cell treatments take place using donor bone marrow from a registry. When a person needs a stem cell transplant, their doctor will perform an HLA (Human Leukocyte Antigen) test and search one of the international registries for a match. Once the match is found, bone marrow is collected from the donor and within a few days the patient will receive their stem cell transplant.
However, there are downsides to this method. With donor stem cells, the risk of rejection or “Graft-versus-host” disease is high and can be life threatening. Donor cells are not currently released if a patient requires a regenerative therapy or would like to enroll on a stem cell clinical trial, and there is also the possibility that, whatever the treatment, no match can be found at all.
This is why more and more parents are choosing to store their baby’s umbilical cord blood stem cells at birth.
Umbilical cord blood stem cell storage
Umbilical cord blood is the most powerful source of stem cells that a person will ever have, as they are the youngest and most plastic. They are also the baby’s perfect match, meaning that, unless needed to treat a genetic condition, they will never need to worry about the risk of rejection or being unable to find a suitable donor. Crucially, when a person chooses private stem cell storage, they can use the cells for whatever treatment they wish, meaning they are able to access regenerative therapies and stem cell clinical trials.
However, umbilical cord blood can only be harvested minutes after the delivery of the placenta at birth, meaning a trained professional needs to on-hand to perform the collection.
Helping parent’s protect their children’s health
Fortunately, a well-established stem cell storage service is available throughout the UK, enabling expectant Parents’ to save their baby’s cord blood. Cells4Life provide trained and licensed phlebotomists, who can collect cord blood from any hospital, 24/7 365 days per year. After the procurement, they will also dispatch a dedicated medical courier to pick up the samples and bring them directly to their UK based laboratories for processing and long-term storage.
To date cord blood banking has been embraced by over 4 million parents and used in over 35,000 transplants already. It is the routine therapy for over 80 different conditions and is being investigated in over 5,000 clinical trials to treat conditions ranging from diabetes to Alzheimer’s disease. Private stem cell banking has also paved the way for some of the most exciting and pioneering treatments in neurological conditions such as cerebral palsy and autism.
Saving stem cells found in the umbilical cord is a once in a lifetime opportunity to invest in the health of your child and family. Find out more in the comprehensive Cells4Life Parents’ Guide to Cord Blood Banking, available for free at http://cells4life.com