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Umbilical Cord Blood Stem Cells and Their Importance

By Apurva Shree, American Chronicle, June 3, 2007

The placenta and umbilical cord contain blood that is jointly referred to as umbilical cord blood. Following the delivery of a baby, the blood is extracted right away. This blood is an extremely rich source of adult stem cells. Stem cells can begin replenishing or repairing old cells in the body by adjusting at anytime. And by having the capability to transform into new brain, blood, heart, and other types of cells; stem cells can bee viewed as the architects of the human body.

Information about birth defect, various diseases, and other ailments, can be discovered by scientists through stem cell research. The underlying secrets responsible for deformities and genetic diseases can be discovered with study. Stem cells have the power to create any cell the body needs by multiplying many times over until the body has repaired itself.

There are a vast number of conditions and diseases that are currently being treated using umbilical cord blood stem cells.

Extensive research is being conducted the benefits of cord blood stem cells in ailments like Brain tumor, Ovarian cancer, Small cell lung cancer, testicular cancer, Rheumatoid Arthritis, spinal injury, diabetes, Parkinsonís disease, Muscular Dystrophy, etc.

Leukemias and Lymphomas like Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia, Adult T Cell Leukemia, Hodgkin's Lymphoma, Juvenile Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia, Polymphocytic Leukemia, Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia, etc.

Bone Marrow Failure Disorders like Aplastic Anemia (Severe), Congenital Dyserythropoietic Anemia, Pure Red Cell Aplasia, etc.

Inherited Metabolic Disorders like Gaucher Disease, Krabbe Disease, Maroteaux-Lamy Syndrome, Tay Sachs, Wolman Disease, etc.

Other Inherited Disorders like Cartilage-Hair Hypoplasia, DiGeorge Syndrome, Osteopetrosis, etc.

Hemoblobinopathies like Beta Thalassemia Major and Sickle Cell Disease.

Plasma Cell Disorders like Plasma Cell Leukemia, Waldenstrom's Macroglobulinemia, etc.

Histiocytic Disorders like Hemophagocytosis.

Inherited Immune System Disorders like Bare Lymphocyte Syndrome, Reticular Dysgenesis, Chronic Granulomatous Disease, Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome, etc.

Some people ask, if we already have bone marrow, why is it that we need to store and preserve umbilical cord blood? Everyone agrees to one point despite the continuing debate: bone marrow does not have more stem cell than umbilical cord blood. Compared to bone marrow, cord blood stem cells are also more flexible and it is much easier to find a matching donor. Thus, cord blood stem cells are rarely rejected by a patient's immune system.

The past few years have seen the rise of cord blood banking. Public and private banks make up the two similar but different cord blood banking entities. A donor can preserve their child's stem cells for free at a public cord blood bank, but restrictions do apply. There is no guarantee that the blood will be saved for a donor's own personal family use. A donor's blood is treated more like a donation that actual banking. If an individual wants exclusive access to their cord blood and wishes for it to be completely secure from unauthorized use, then a private cord blood bank is the best choice. However, they are expensive, and in some cases "free" outweighs any security a person may want.

Many terminal illnesses and conditions can be treated using umbilical cord blood stem cells. Cord blood is very important and should be stored when possible. This form of "biological insurance" just may prove to be the best insurance a person can get.


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