March 3, 2014
The human body is made up of more than 200 specialized cells, which carry out unique and specific functions. Stem cells are cells within the human body that have the capability to replicate themselves (into new cells that are the same as the parent), or differentiate themselves, to form one of more of the 200 specialized cells that make up the human body. There are many different types of stem cells within the human body. However, generally speaking, a stem cell is not yet “specialized” to perform a unique and specific function until they differentiate themselves. This capability makes step cells quite valuable to scientists who are pursuing stem cell research, especially those who work at the umbilical cord blood bank. Stem cells can be used in treatments to repair a patient’s damaged cells, or to replace cells that have been lost for one reason of another.
Somewhere along the line of modern stem cell research, scientists found that the umbilical cord blood and tissue of newborn babies is very rich in the type of stem cells that can be used to potentially cure numerous life-threatening diseases. This cord blood can only be collected at the birth of a baby, within a very small window of time, so it is important that the general public becomes aware of the potential uses of their child’s cord blood and tissue. If not collected and processed, these cells are disposed of as medical waste.
The practice of cord blood banking is becoming more and more popular, as parent’s are realizing the potential uses of their baby’s cord blood and tissue for many uses, from treating hereditary diseases to saving the life of a stranger. Public cord blood banking is very similar to giving blood to a blood bank; your donation is collected and stored in a cord blood bank, to be potentially matched to an eligible recipient at a later date. Currently, only 25% of donations to public umbilical cord blood banks are actually banked, because others do not meet necessary donation sizes and therefore, cannot be used in transplants. Donations that do not meet this size criteria are either used for research and discarded.
With CariCord, your baby’s cells are stored in a secure facility for personal use at a later date, if needed. This practice is referred to as private umbilical cord blood banking, and it can potentially save your child’s life or the life of a family member, especially if your family has a history of disease.