Why is umbilical cord blood needed?
To date, if not all, then a lot of people have heard about stem cells. Of special interest is the theme for future parents who are on the way to making a decision to preserve blood from the cord of their newborn baby. From the correctness of their choice, the health of the child can also directly depend.
Let's talk about why the umbilical cord blood is stored in special banks. In addition, consider its characteristics and methods of use.
What is cord blood?
This name was obtained by blood, which is taken from the baby's cord and the placenta immediately after childbirth. Its value is in the large concentration of stem cells, which have a lot of positive characteristics.
What are stem cells
Cord blood cells have been called stem cells. They are the main "bricks" in the structure of the body's immune system. In addition, stem cells have such an interesting feature, as the possibility of dividing throughout the life cycle. This helps to restore any tissues of the body. And the stem cells are able to differentiate absolutely into any other type of cells, of which there are more than two hundred.
How is cord blood collected
So, how should umbilical cord be collected? It should be noted right away that this procedure is completely painless for both the mother and her newborn baby. In addition, it does not carry any danger in itself.
Immediately after birth, a needle is inserted into the umbilical vein, through which the blood flows into a special bag. It already contains a liquid that prevents clotting. In total, there are 50 to 250 ml of blood, which contains between 3 and 5 percent of the stem cells.
After departing afterwards, the midwife cuts off about 10-20 centimeters of the umbilical cord and places it in a special package.
All biomaterials should be delivered to the laboratory for 4-6 hours. There they undergo processing, freezing and storage.
Shelf life of stem cells and their use
Cord blood preservation is a process that must occur in compliance with all the necessary rules and regulations. After all, it depends on it, the time of "life" of stem cells.
With proper storage, this period can be tens of years, which is confirmed by the fact that the first blood bank was opened in 1993.It is from that moment until our time that the first stem cells taken from cord blood are stored.
There is no doubt that this biomaterial will be 100% suitable for the child himself. In addition, the conducted studies have shown that close relatives( parents, brothers and sisters) can also use a valuable liquid. In this case, the probability that the blood is ideal, is within 25%.
Stem cells in an adult
After reading the above information, the question may arise: why should stem cells be collected from a newborn child? Are they not in the body of an adult? Of course there is. But!
The main difference is the concentration of stem cells in the blood. With age, their number is constantly decreasing. This will help to confirm the results of the conducted studies: for newborns, 1 stem cell per 10,000 cells of the body, in adolescence - 100 thousand, and after 50 years - by 500 thousand. At the same time, not only their quantity decreases, but also the quality. Umbilical stem cells are much more active than those that are extracted from the bone marrow. The main reason for this is their youth.
Why is it necessary to save blood from the umbilical cord
Modern medicine has moved far ahead and knows a lot. But still there are some diseases, a cure for which has not yet been invented. It is in such cases that the use of umbilical cord blood, and more specifically, stem cells contained in it, can be a way out of the situation. For example, it can be a disease of the immune system. This also includes cases where bone marrow or blood recovery is necessary, and biomaterial is used for the speedy regeneration of tissues after extensive burns or wounds.
Even if the baby was born completely healthy, this does not guarantee that stem cells will not be needed for life. In addition, they can be used to treat close relatives. Therefore, it is worthwhile even before childbirth to think about the issue of collecting cord blood to ensure the possibility, in the event of which, to restore the health of not only the child, but also the rest of the family members.
Cord blood treatment
It was mentioned above that the umbilical cord blood and the stem cells contained in it are a real panacea for getting rid of many serious illnesses. But without concrete examples, such words will remain only empty sounds. Therefore, let us recall some of the most common diseases( although there are more than 80 of them), which can be got rid of by using such a biomaterial. For convenience, they will all be divided into interconnected groups.
Diseases of the blood:
- refractory and aplastic anemia;
- sickle cell anemia;
- paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria;
- acute and chronic leukemia;
- anemia of Fanconi;
- rheumatoid arthritis;
- cerebral palsy;
- spinal cord injury;
- Alzheimer's disease;
- systemic scleroderma;
- of the nervous system;
- Parkinson's disease.
- cancer( breast, kidney, ovaries, testicles);
- small cell lung cancer;
- Ewing's sarcoma;
- brain tumor;
- of thymoma.
Other congenital and acquired diseases:
- metabolic disorders;
- diabetes mellitus;
- muscular dystrophy;
Special indications and contraindications for the preservation of blood from the cord
There are situations when the issue of preserving cord blood needs to be given special attention. This applies to cases where:
- family members are representatives of different nationalities;
- someone from the family was diagnosed with blood diseases or malignant diseases;
- has many children in the family;
- in the family already have sick children;
- pregnancy occurred after IVF;
- is suspected that in the future there may be a need for using stem cells.
But it also happens that it is forbidden to store stem cells. This happens in cases of a positive result for the presence of such diseases as hepatitis B and C, syphilis, HIV-1 and HIV-2, T-cell leukemia.
How effective is stem cell treatment?
Scientists have long known about the useful functions that cord blood has. And to date, there are active studies on the use of stem cells for the treatment of various diseases. It is worth noting that they are quite successful, and in the near future thanks to cord blood can be rid of many diseases. Besides, in laboratory conditions from stem cells it is possible to grow a new high-grade organ! This discovery has advanced medicine far ahead and put it, so to speak, to a new stage of evolution.
What is a stem cell bank and what does it do?
After it was decided to preserve the umbilical cord blood, it remains to understand only one question: where will it be stored? Are there special places for similar purposes? The answer, of course, is positive.
The bank of cord blood stem cells is the place where such valuable biological material will be stored with observance of all necessary norms. In this case, there are two registers: registered and public.
In the first case, blood from the child's umbilical cord belongs to his parents, and only they can dispose of it. But in this situation, they will have to pay for all services independently, from collection and processing to storage.
Any person can use the stem cells of a public register when such necessity arises.
Choosing a stem cell bank
When choosing a stem cell storage bank, you need to focus on several important points. Let's consider each of them in more detail.
- Time of existence of the bank. In this regard, everything is logical, because the more time an organization works, the more it is trusted by clients, mainly due to confidence in its stability. In addition, employees of such a bank usually have extensive experience with cord blood.
- Availability of license. This is a mandatory item. The bank must have a permit for the collection, transportation and storage of stem cells, which was issued by the health committee.
- The base of the institution. It is best to choose a bank that is based on a research institute or medical institution. This will guarantee that they will meet all the conditions for working with biological material and storing it.
- Availability of the necessary equipment. The bank must be equipped with a dual centrifuge, as well as Sepax and Macopress machines.
- Presence of automatic cryo storage control system. This will help to control the temperature in the room with samples of cord blood, as well as receive reports on their storage for placement in a special archive.
- Availability of courier service. This is necessary so that the bank's employees can quickly come to the maternity ward, take the cord blood and deliver it to the laboratory. From the efficiency of their work depends directly on the preservation of the viability of stem cells.
- Carrying out of the bank scientific researches in the field of cellular technologies. This point is no less important than all the others. In addition, the bank should cooperate with medical institutions and leading research institutes of the city.
- 24-hour security. This paragraph does not require further explanation.
Among other things, you can further clarify whether the bank has experience with the use of stem cells for treatment. The presence of a positive response will be just another plus.
So we got acquainted with the question "what is cord blood".Its application, as we see, is shown for the treatment of serious diseases, when medical preparations are already powerless. But in any case, the decision on whether to collect the umbilical cord blood of his newborn baby or not, is taken only by his parents.