March 5, 2014
Simply put, cord blood is the blood found in the umbilical cord of a newborn child. Rich in stem cells, this blood has a variety of uses within the field of regenerative medicine, and can potentially save lives. Because cord blood comes from the umbilical cord of a baby, it can only be collected within a small window of time at birth. For years, this cord blood was simply disposed of as medical waste, but now more and more parents are realizing that they have other options.
There are three basic options for what to do with cord blood. The first is simple to take no action and dispose of it. The second is to store it in a public cord blood bank. The third is private cord blood banking, which is the primary service CariCord offers. We’ve discussed the differences and benefits of both public and private umbilical cord blood banking in other articles, so we won’t get into that too much here. In short, parents can know that their child’s cord blood is potentially making a difference when it is collected for a cord blood bank, even if the donation is too small to become a transplant, as is the case 75% of the time in public cord blood banking. Those donations that are too small to be banked can still be used for research in some cases.
Most stem cell treatments use hematopoietic stem cells, which are found in bone marrow, peripheral blood, and umbilical cord blood. Depending on the situation, a physician will make the call on what type of stem sells are best to use. For the past few decades, physicians have been using stem cells found in cord blood to treat diseases such as leukemia, sickle cell anemia, bone marrow damage, and even certain metabolic disorders. Hematopoietic stem cells give rise to all of the different kinds of blood cell types, from infection-fighting white blood cells to blood-clotting platelets. As you can see, cord blood poses a very valuable asset within the growing field of regenerative medicine!