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The Umbilical Cord Blood Advantage

By Apurva Shree, The American Chronicle, June 25, 2007

When cord blood cells are transplanted to patients, a number of ailments have begun reversing their effects as records have proven. Research has shown that diverse treatment strategies for over 70 diseases can be derived from umbilical cord blood stem cells. Where re-growth of cells is necessary for treatment and bone marrow transplants are the current mode of treatment, research is being conducted to see the potential of cord blood stem cells in this category as well.

Researchers claim that bone marrow and its hemapoietic characteristics can be found in umbilical cord blood stem cells as well. The cells that make up the various organs throughout our body can be developed from these particular stem cells. To treat disorders that surface in the various organs, cord blood stem cells are typically chosen due to their versatility. But those suffering from blood disorders make up the majority of the recipients of cord blood according to records.

Platelets, white blood cells, and red blood cells can all be created by umbilical cord blood stem cells. Fanconi, Anemia, adult and child leukemia, lymphoma ,and most other malignant blood disorders are treated with cord blood stem cells for this very reason. Parkinson's disease, immune system disorders, heart muscle disorders, cardiac diseases like heart attacks, severe spinal cord injuries, and some sight disorders, are among the life threatening diseases that have been successfully treated using umbilical cord blood stem cells.

Cord blood stem cell transplants are most commonly administered to those patients who decide to forgo the painful procedures involved with a bone marrow transplant. Children and young adults have been the primary recipients of cord blood cell transplants. One of the reasons for this is that as a recipient becomes larger, the demands of cell quantity become greater. Most often, the quantity required for adult treatment cannot be found.

Since they are the most primitive cells of the body, they are often referred to as "naive" cells. Thus, where tissue re-growth is needed , they exhibit the adaptability to form the cells of any respective organ. For this reason, the recipientís immune response is less likely to reject the cells.

Fewer matches of cells can be found for ethnic and racial minorities. Individuals that fall into this category are encouraged to save their children's umbilical cord blood so that it can be used by their family at a later date if needed. Finding genetically matched cord blood cells is difficult for a few other individuals as well. Others who should seriously consider cord blood stem cell banking are parents of newborn adopted children and those born though in vitro fertilization.

Preserving a baby's cord blood stem cells makes perfect sense. Offering umbilical cord blood storage, cryogenic facilities or "cord blood banks" are accessible in nearly ever corner of the world today. Since the cells are useful in the treatment of many deadly diseases, they could potentially save a child's life, or one of his or her siblings, or even another family member. Since it is relatively difficult to find a match for some, those individuals should strongly consider banking as well.


 

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