What is the Use of Stem Cells in Cord Blood?
In the past, cord blood that came from childbirth was discarded as merely a byproduct of the incredible miracle of birth. Research into stem cells has shown that cord blood is actually one of the most valuable resources for future medical treatments possible.
Cord blood is one of the best ways to harvest stem cells that can be used to treat a huge variety of diseases. It’s fantastic because it is easily collected and is perfectly safe for both the mother and the child. This is a great alternative from other stem cell sources which have caused so much controversy.
The world needs more treatments for dangerous diseases, and it’s wonderful to think that the birth of a child can produce both a new life, and perhaps save an older one!
What is Cord Blood Used For?
There are several diseases that cord blood and transplants are used for. The quality of cord blood transplants has continued to increase and they are being used consistently.
What cord blood is used for most is for anemia and cancer. Specifically cord blood is especially effective on cancers that affect the blood like leukemia. This is because the stem cells are special. Stem cells work to reproduce cells other than themselves. They are the only type of cell in the body that can do this.
How are Stem Cells Harvested?
The normal way to harvest stem cells for treatment is through someone’s bone marrow. A special needle is inserted and over one to two hours, stem cells are removed from the donor. This isn’t particularly dangerous, but it’s still not enough cells to help with treatment for everyone.
Stem cells harvested from cord blood is the easiest way to harvest them. The cells are simply frozen in the blood and they are unfrozen when they are needed. It’s incredibly easy. The stem cells can be easily stored away for use later. The only downside to the harvesting of stem cells from cord blood is that it doesn’t necessarily produce as many as would be ideal.
To Keep or to Donate
When the cord blood and stem cells are harvested after birth, the mother has a choice. That is her cord blood and she was the right to it. Seeing as cord blood needs to be compatible with the person who’s going to use it for treatment.
The first option is to keep the cord blood for the future. Protection from various blood diseases seems like a great idea. However, there are some outstanding things to consider. Cord blood isn’t something that can just be poured in a can and kept in the garage. Cord blood needs to be properly stored at a reputable storage facility and cryobank. There can be a very high cost associated with storage. Plus, people may be paying for something that they never end up using.
Another option is to donate the cord blood. Donation is a great way to help out some people who are in need. Those who are suffering from diseases and require treatment may be eligible to use the cord blood. As long as they are a match, it can be the key to their future!
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