June 17, 2015
You may have come to our website today with many questions such as, “What is stem cell research?” or “How are patients matched to cord blood for treatments?” We’d like to take some time to answer that question.
Human blood is made up of 6 specific protein markers called human leukocyte antigens (HLAs). These are used as identifiers, as each are unique to every individual. HLA markers of both the patient and the donor are compared to determine their compatibility before an umbilical cord blood stem cell transplant takes place. Unlike blood taken from other sources, a perfect HLA match is not required when it comes to cord blood. This means that cord blood stem cells have greater flexibility and thus more potential usage than other types of stem cells, giving expecting mothers another good reason to consider umbilical cord blood banking during their stages of pregnancy.
The immune system uses HLA markers to identify the body’s cells versus foreign bodies in the blood. If it does not recognize certain cells, the immune system kicks into high gear to eliminate that foreign material. This “attack” is called Graft vs. Host Disease, and it can be very serious. This is why it is important to match the HLA markers of the patient and donor before transplant, to ensure that the transplant will be a success. However, as we have stated, the match does not have to be perfect when using umbilical cord blood (as opposed to bone marrow cells, which require a perfect 6 of 6 match) collected after a mother’s pregnancy stages.
It is estimated that an individual will have a 1 in 217 chance of needing at least one of the many types of stem cell treatments, at some point in their lifetime. While public cord blood banking is an option, many parents and mothers in their stages of pregnancy want to give their children a greater chance at finding a donor who is an HLA match, in the event that they ever need a transplant. Full siblings have a 1 in 4 chance at being a perfect match, and parents have a 10% chance of being a perfect match. This is why storing the umbilical cord blood for each of your children after your pregnancy stages can be so effective, because it greatly increases the chances of finding a close enough match, should anyone in your immediate or extended family ever need a stem cell transplant.
June 15, 2015
What is stem cell research in relation to cord blood? Stem cell research is quite important, as it uncovers new uses and treatments for which cord blood can be utilized. New research is ongoing, and medical breakthroughs are happening on a fairly consistent basis in stem cell research and umbilical cord blood banking communities.
New studies and clinical trials are underway, so that researches can discover new uses for cord blood, which is safely collected at the birth of a child after a mother’s stages of pregnancy. These studies are examining the effectiveness of stem cells collected via umbilical cord blood banking in the treatments of many different diseases, which include Alzheimer’s disease, AIDS, diabetes, muscular dystrophy, Parkinson’s disease, lyme disease, heart disease, stroke, spinal cord injuries, and the list will continue to grow.
CariCord is an active partner in the exploration of many of these new treatments and is excited to be a part of the promising future of regenerative medicine and health care that utilizes umbilical cord blood stem cells collected at the birth of a child after a mother’s pregnancy stages.
Currently, stem cells collected via umbilical cord blood banking after a mother’s stages of pregnancy, can be used to treat and potentially cure more than 80 diseases, including anemia treatment. These diseases include leukemia, lymphoma, myelomas, sickle cell anemia, blood disorders, immune deficiency diseases, metabolic disorders, and bone marrow failure. If you have certain types of cancer or need anemia treatment, cord blood is a viable treatment option, which is why it is important for expecting mothers to consider umbilical cord blood banking during their pregnancy stages. What is stem cell research? It is finding treatments and cures for these and more diseases!
June 12, 2015
Hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPCs) are found in cord blood, bone marrow, and peripheral blood and can be collected through umbilical cord blood banking. HPCs are blood-forming stem cells that can be used in the treatment of different types of cancers, blood disorders, immune disorders, and anemia treatment.
The HPCs found in cord blood are considered by medical professionals to be “immature” cells and are not required to be an exact match to be considered compatible, a prerequisite for HPCs found in bone marrow or other blood sources. This is why HPC cells collected through umbilical cord blood banking after a mother’s pregnancy stages are more flexible and can be used more broadly than HPC bone marrow cells. Additionally, cord blood researchers have found that patients will not experience as many adverse reactions from cord blood HPCs, compared to HPCs taken from other blood sources. This is because the body is less likely to view the cells as a threat and attack them, and another reason for expecting mothers to consider umbilical cord blood banking during their stages of pregnancy.
Because umbilical cord blood is rich in HPCs, it is a vital resource in treating cancer, blood disorders, immune disorders, and can be utilized for anemia treatment. This is why it is important for expecting mothers to become aware of the many benefits of cord blood during their early pregnancy stages, so they can make an informed decision to potentially bank their child’s cord blood before their stages of pregnancy end. Once a baby has been born, the opportunity to save their cord blood has passed.
June 10, 2015
Umbilical cord blood banking is an important component to stem cell research, allowing cord blood cells that are collected from a new mother at birth, after her stages of pregnancy, to be used for a variety of purposes, including anemia treatment and the treatment of many other diseases.
A recent UPI study* out of Washington reports that a stem cell research team has successfully developed a way to cause embryonic stem cells to become inner-ear hair cells. These “hairs” are mechanosensitive ion channels that are responsible for hearing and balance. They turn vibrations into signals that the human brain can process.
The potential long-term sustainability of this study is evident. These cells could be used as a starting point to develop cell replacement therapies, which could successfully restore the lost or damaged hair cells in the inner ear. This could lead to a potential stem cell therapy for hearing loss.
Because stem cell research is constantly advancing in ways such as these, it is important for expecting mothers to consider umbilical cord blood banking during their earlier pregnancy stages. Once the stages of pregnancy are complete, there is not a chance to store a newborn child’s cord blood through an umbilical cord blood banking service such as CariCord. Cells stored through cord blood banking have a variety of uses, such as anemia treatment. In addition to potentially restoring hearing loss, cord blood has already been shown to treat more than 80 diseases, including cancers, leukemias, and anemia treatment.
* UPI, Scientists Develop Method to Grow Sensory Hair Cells in the Ear, May 26, 2015, published online.