Parents save their baby’s cord blood stem cells viewing it as a “biological insurance” of their child as well as for the other family members. Though some parents don’t have family medical record indicating inclination towards any particular life threatening disease (nearly 80 diseases like leukemia, blood disorders, sickle cell anemia, thalassemia, cancer, juvenile diabetes, brain injury etc) but they recognize the potential of newborn’s cord blood stem cells as a most trusted natural biological resource if needed in future. Many common diseases treated with cord blood cells are not necessarily hereditary and may occur without warning signs.
Couples using fertility treatments prefer cord blood banking because they know the possibility of having no other chance to secure genetically related cord blood stem cells for the medical benefits of their child. Cord blood stem cells banking is the smart choice for the parents having ethnic minority or mixed ethnicity family history. Parents who adopt a newborn choose cord blood banking because stored cord blood would be the only genetic source available in the future for the treatment of their child because complete family medical history may not be available.
Various studies have predicted the global likelihood of using stored cord blood as 1:1400. Though public banks may provide adequate sample of cord blood stem cells for transplant but it may not be the best sample. More than 50% of patients are unable to find a genuine donor fulfilling all the requisite medical parameters.
Before choosing a cord blood bank, you are expected to do your own research also besides discussing the issue with concerned obstetrician. Only the cord banks that are accredited by AABB (American Association of Blood Banks) or AATB (American Association of Tissue Banks) or CLIA (Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act) or CAP (College of American Pathologists) like agencies should be considered. Parents must compare the sample collection procedure, location of storage, delivery policies, privacy policies and price structure like aspects of various options.
Cord blood stem cells banking should be accepted and promoted as a global mission keeping aside personal interests.
I see the growing trend among the parents for accepting cord blood stem cells banking as the medical necessity as a good sign. It reflects the success of various programs introduced to promote the use of cord blood stem cells for future medical needs, which were thrown away till some years back. Because of the regular research studies being made around the world, new applications of cord blood stem cells are being invented to make the treatments of life threatening diseases (till date more than 80) less expensive, less complicated and more effective. It has been proved that cord blood stem cells are far better than adult stem cells because of having better immunological and proliferation properties.
Cord blood stem cells are being used in two areas of injury treatment and disease – transplant and regenerative medicine. In transplant medicine, patient undergoes through chemotherapy to receive cord blood stem cells to regenerate healthy immune and blood system. In transplant medicine, availability of more cells helps the patient to recover faster reducing chances of complications considerably. Regenerative cord blood stem cells applications are used to repair damaged organs or tissues. In regenerative treatments, availability of more cells makes multiple treatments at a time possible. Today, cord blood stem cells are being used widely to treat hearing loss, brain injury, Cerebral palsy, heart disease, congenital heart defects, Juvenile diabetes, liver disease, orthopedic injury and spinal cord injury etc.
Cord blood stem cells can be reprogrammed to act like embryonic stem cells for off-the-shelf applications setting the basis for creation of comprehensive bank of tissue-matched, cord blood-derived pluripotent stem (iPS) cells ( A report by- Salk Institute for Biological Studies and the Center for Regenerative Medicine in Barcelona, Spain). Encouraging results of ongoing research works promise new applications of stem cells in genetic therapies and therapeutic cloning.