These amazing discoveries have started to lead to clinical applications in a wide range of diseases, including heart attacks and spinal cord injuries, and in the next few years we expect to see clinical trials in diseases ranging from cystic fibrosis to Alzheimers disease and diabetes.
Advantages of storing cord blood stem cells
A guaranteed match for autologous transplants (where the donor and recipient are the same individual).Autologous stem cell transplants refer to transplants where the donor and recipient of the stem cells is the same individual. The cord blood that you are storing for your baby today is a potential medical resource for the future, and does not require stringent matching as opposed to conventional bone marrow stem cell transplants. About 70% of patients who need a transplant are unable to find a suitable match within the family1.
A Readily Available Supply of Stored Haematopoietic Stem CellsIn the course of an already time critical situation where stem cells are required in a transplant, having your child’s cord blood stored compares well to having to do a national or international search which is both costly and time-consuming. The cost of procuring a cord blood sample in Singapore can cost up to $75,000, and that is, if a match is found.
Lower risk of Graft vs. Host Disease (GvHD) for autologous transplantsGraft vs. Host Disease refers to a common complication where the transplanted tissue attacks the patient’s own tissue. This disease will usually occur in transplants when the donor and recipient are different.
Ease of collection, which is pain-free and risk-free to both mother and child.Cord blood collection is a relatively easy task, which is handled by your own delivering doctor (OBGYN). This process does not affect the birthing process in any way and can be done on both natural and c-section births.
Umbilical cord blood stem cells are younger and more primitiveIn comparison to other types of stem cells, e.g bone marrow and peripheral blood stem cells, there is a notably higher rate of engraftment. This means the cells are faster in growing and making healthy blood stem cells and are more tolerant to tissue mismatches.
1 in 217 chances of using stem cells for treatment in a lifetimeStatistics have shown that 1 in every 217 persons may need stem cells for treatment in their lifetime2. Your baby’s cord blood contains a rich source of such stem cells. Since 1988, doctors have used cord blood stem cells to treat more than 30,000 patients3 suffering from diseases such as leukaemia, other cancers, blood disorders and in other clinical trials.
1 Be The Match website. www.bethematch.org. Assessed 21 Jul 2014
2 Nietfeld JJ, Pasquini MC, Logan BR, Verter F, Horowitz MM. Lifetime probabilities of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation in the U.S Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation. 2008;14:316-322
3 Ballen KK, Gluckman E, Broxmeyer HE. Umbilical cord blood transplantation: The first 25 years and beyond. 2013; Blood: 122(4)