Cord blood is the blood that is found in the placenta and umbilical cord of the new born babies. The cord blood can easily be collected & stored in a frozen state for later usage. There was a time when the cord blood was discarded. It was thought to be a waste material. In the present times, the benefits of the cord blood have surfaced and are now considered a very useful discovery. The cord blood is a very rich source of stem cells. Cord blood was once used in treating children with blood diseases of certain kinds since the year 1989 & the research on its potential to treat adults started from that year.
Many current trials showed promising results of the cord blood in the treatment of a number of diseases such as diabetes, strokes, heart disease, and more. The stem cells that are derived from the umbilical cord are undergoing many clinical trials. These trials are mainly to establish stem cells in treating multiple sports-related injuries, sclerosis, & various types of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease and Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS).
The Facts About Cord Blood
Cord blood is a source of blood or hematopoietic stem cells that are capable of producing all kinds of cells that are present or found in human blood such as the immune system cells. The hematopoietic or blood stem cells can be transplanted from the cord blood. The hematopoietic stem cells or the HSCs can be effectively used in the treatment of many blood diseases, like leukemia. Compared to the hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) from the donors of bone marrow, transplants of the hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) from the cord blood is more likely to result to fewer incompatibilities of the immune system, like graft-versus-host-disease. However, there is one disadvantage of the cord blood and that is cord blood contains fewer hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) as compared to the number that one bone-marrow donation does, which means for treatments an adult patient will need 2 volumes of the cord blood. Researchers are working hard to find ways that will help them expand or increase the hematopoietic stem cells in number from the cord blood so that a donation of one single umbilical cord blood donation is capable of supplying enough number of cells for multiple hematopoietic stem cell transplants.
As soon as one baby is brought to the world, an amount of cord blood can be found left in the placenta and umbilical cord of the mother. It can be collected from the placenta and umbilical cord easily, without putting the mother and the baby in any kind of risk. The cord blood contains hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), the hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) are actually rare cells that are usually found in human bone marrow. The hematopoietic stem cells have a number of benefits. The HSCs (hematopoietic stem cells) are capable of making all types of cell present in human blood; platelets, white cells, and red cells. They are also responsible for the production of blood during our entire life. The hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) have been utilized for a number of years in the treatment of blood diseases.
There have been a number of reports that suggest that the cord blood is a source of other kinds of the stem cells that are capable of producing specialized cells, which don't belong to the human blood, like nerve cells. These findings and discoveries are still controversial among experts and scientists & are not yet widely accepted.
Research and Treatment
Regenerative therapy is actually the practice or system of delivering the cells and the cell products in order to renew damaged or diseased tissues in one specific area. Regenerative therapy has become a fast growing area in the field of medical research. Every year, a number of regenerative therapies are emerging that uses the stem cells that are found in cord blood & cord tissue are entering into the lab for clinical trials for treating life threatening and chronic diseases. If the clinical trials are proven successful, then these trials will certainly lead to an approval from FDA (Food and Drug Administration). With the approval from FDA, the treatments can make their way to general practice.
Cord Blood in the Treatment of Diseases
As of now, the FDA approved the stem cells of cord blood in the treatment of nearly eighty diseases. There are about three hundred and fifty ongoing clinical trials on the transplantation of stem cells that are being investigated, where the cord blood and cord tissue are involved. The number of clinical trials is increasing steadily and is looking very promising. The stem cells of cord blood are now approved for a number of types of anemia, malignancies, immune system deficiencies, and inherited disorders of human metabolism. Till date, most of the transplants of the cord blood have been tried on patients less than eighteen years of age. However, the advancements in the regenerative medicine are showing promising developments in almost all age groups.
The stem cells in cord blood can have a bigger role in treating diseases such as cancer and conditions like the immune disorders. Banking the cord blood is gaining popularity because of its potential use in the future in treating many diseases. Over thirty-five thousand patients have already experienced a successful stem cells transplant and thousands more are being treated with the stem cells every year. Each year, a number of medical trials are testing new therapies and with them, more treatment options are opening up for both doctors and patients.