June 6, 2014
The two types of stem cell transplants are: autologous (using one’s own cells) and allogeneic (using someone else’s cells). More than 80 diseases are currently being treated with cord blood stem cells and that number is continually growing, as research continues to expand. The specific medical situation of the person requiring the stem cell transplant or infusion, is what determines the type of donation needed.
In general, autologous stem cell transplants are considered safer and simpler than allogeneic stem cell transplants; however, during the treatment of certain diseases your healthcare provider may feel that the use of your own stem cells would be less beneficial or not appropriate, than the use of stem cells from a donor.
An autologous transplant is one that uses your own cells. When looking at the likelihood of rejection, the fact that you are getting your own cells back is a huge advantage in stem cell transplants. If you bank your child’s cord blood stem cells and they are later found to have a disease that can be treated with their own cells, you will have a supply ready for use. This also means that you don’t have to worry about graft-vs.-host disease, where the new cells attacking his or her body or about possibly contracting a new infection or illness from another person’s donation.
In a situation where an allogeneic stem cell transplant is required, a person could have the highest rate of success when receiving a donation from a full sibling, if they are a sufficient match. Cord blood is one of the best sources of stem cells needed for this type of transplant. The stem cells found in umbilical cord blood are very young cells and the umbilical cord contains a high number of stem cells that tend to multiply quickly.
A person has a 1-in-4 chance of being a perfect match to their full sibling stem cell donor. Allogeneic stem cell transplants are most often used to treat certain types of cancers, myelodysplastic syndrome, as well as diseases that affect the production of bone marrow cells, such as aplastic anemia, congenital neutropenia, severe immunodeficiency syndromes, sickle cell anemia, and thalassemia, and more.
Banking your child’s umbilical cord blood with CariCord means that the chances to have either of these types of treatment for your child or other family members will always be there. It provides peace of mind for you to have this potentially life-saving resource available for your child and your family.