Saving Umbilical Stem Cells

Written by Andrew Ripps. Posted in Why Cord Blood

  • Where does it all begin?

There are plenty of news articles and medical stories about how saving the umbilical cord can save lives, but where does it all begin? In a single miraculous moment of pairing, the egg and sperm create the first stem cell. Each stem cell will then carry the remarkable capability to develop into many different cell types in the body, or continue to divide as stem cells.

  • Umbilical stem cells as a repair system for the body

Stem cells are often referred to as the “master cells” or the “building blocks” of blood, the immune system and organ tissue. This is because of their ability to serve as a sort of repair system for the body, dividing and replenishing other cells. This means that stem cells have the ability to create tissue and can replace any cell within the body.

  • The potential of umbilical stem cells as a life saving resource

Surprisingly, this potentially life-building and often life saving resource is usually discarded, together with the after-birth waste. Only recently has it become more widely understood that saving the umbilical cord can recover a rich supply of stem cells that can be used for regenerating damaged tissues, such as brain, kidney liver or heart tissue, blood cells and more.

  • Stem cells as a regenerative medicine

Stem cell treatments have applied this extraordinary capacity to treat a multitude of diseases and disorders. In the last 20 years, stem cells harvested by saving the umbilical cord have been the first step towards successfully treating dozens of life-threatening diseases including various cancers, sickle-cell anemia, blood and immunodeficiency disorders, bone marrow failure and genetic diseases.
Stem cells taken by saving the umbilical cord can also be used in regenerative medicine, as shown in a number of clinical trials. Here, stem cells are evaluated for their ability to induce healing or regenerate cells to repair tissues. Children’s own cord blood stem cells are infused to help the body repair itself in cases such as cerebral palsy, autism and juvenile diabetes19.

Numerous studies, daily, are increasing the number of diseases and disorders that can be treated, bringing new hope to patients and their families. As the list of stem cell applications in different therapy regimes increases, saving the umbilical cord resonates with even greater potential value.