How Stem Cells Work

Stem cells at the core of body’s foundation

Imagine if you could have a unique biological “healing kit” on standby for your child or other immediate family member for the possible treatment of a number of diseases and circumstances. That is a reality when you bank your newborn baby’s cord blood.

Stem cells are the body’s major directing cells. They are what makes up everything in your body including blood, organs, tissue and the immune system. Cord blood and cord tissue are an abundant source of these stem cells.

In the case of stem cells being transplanted to replace bone marrow, the cells repair the body by changing into the three different type of blood cells necessary for healthy blood – red and white blood cells and platelets. Stem cells have also been turned into other cells types in clinical trials including bone, heart, muscle and nerve cells.

Uses of Stem Cells

More than 80 diseases are currently being treated with or cured with stem cells. This includes many types of cancers, blood disorders and immune deficiency diseases. Stem cells are new, young cells that are successful in treatments by replacing the damaged or diseased cells.

  • Stem cells can divide and produce new blood cells in a short amount of time, usually within just several weeks.
  • During chemotherapy or radiation treatments for lymphoma or leukemia, many healthy bone marrow cells are damaged, along with the cancer cells. Stem cells can help jump start the rebuilding of those blood cells in bone marrow.
  • Stem cells can replace defective cells in the bone marrow of children born with inherited metabolic disorders.

The body’s basic building blocks

Stem cells are a medical marvel. They possess the ability to be modified into other cell types inside the body as needed. Stem cells hold great potential in the treatment of many diseases.