March 13, 2015

Cord blood banking has come about because of the incredible discoveries made by dedicated science and medical researchers over the past 35+ years. Innumerable patients suffering from a vast range of diseases and disorders have had their lives changed and, in some cases, their lives saved, thanks to stem cell research and cord blood banking.

As of 2014, medical professionals are now able to treat patients suffering from any one of the more than 80 diseases and disorders that cord blood is known to treat. This includes stem cell transplants for many types of cancers, metabolic and inherited diseases, and serious blood disorders, to name a few. Promising cord blood research continues in hopes of finding treatments for many incurable diseases and injuries, including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, Cerebral Palsy, stroke and debilitating spinal cord injuries.

While this makes one look to the future of medical treatments with hope and enthusiasm, it is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to cord blood banking and the potential for stem cells to advance the field of medicine. Stem cell research provides medical professionals the opportunity to make significant advances in human healthcare by observing reactions on a cellular level.

In 2007, for example, researchers discovered a method of creating human induced pluripotent stem cells from adult stem cells. A type of gene therapy is applied that basically “reprograms” an adult multipotent bone marrow or cord blood stem cell. This causes it behave and function like a much more diverse pluripotent stem cell. By taking on the characteristics of that type of stem cell, it opens the doors for researchers to get a better understanding of how these cells develop from the very earliest stages. By observing this, they are able to make hypotheses on how organs, muscles and tissues form and/or heal, allowing for the development of more effective treatment options. This provides greater insight for researchers on how these tissues would react to certain medications and helps to identify any serious side effects early on in the drug screening process. If a new drug or treatment is observed to be ineffective on the stem cell-induced tissues early enough, it omits the need for further animal or human trials.

Advances in stem cell research have enabled researchers to study any and every type of stem cell formation and mutations. By observing and understanding cells’ development and reaction to signals given off by surrounding cells, researchers are learning to mimic the signals in the lab to guide cells down a particular desired developmental path. In theory, this means no disease is protected from the possibility of a future treatment and/or cure.

By opting to take advantage of umbilical cord blood banking for your family now, you are safeguarding their option to take advantage of future cord blood treatments. You are providing them the assurance of a healthy future. Even if no one in your family has a current need for a cord blood stem cell transplant, the future of stem cell treatments is ever-evolving, making cord blood banking an even more valuable investment as additional treatment discoveries are made.

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