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Banking Of Stem Cells

Sharing more news on a topic few know much about; as per Discovery…

Banking of stem cells

In the past ten years there has been an increasing trend of banking babies’ stem cells at birth. But why should you do this and what are the potential benefits for your baby?

Stem cells are the building blocks of life and can diversify into any kind of cell. They are being researched as a possible cure for conditions as varied as cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, type 1 diabetes and hearing loss. Stem cells from umbilical cord blood are already used to treat more than 70 blood-related diseases such as leukaemia, multiple myeloma and sickle-cell anaemia by regenerating bone marrow. There are currently more than 4 000 trials involving stem cells, with more than 200 of these trials using umbilical cord blood stem cells. It is possible to collect stem cells later in life, but cord blood stem cells are considered to be better quality because they haven’t been exposed to ageing, pollutants, illness or disease.

Why bank babies’ cord blood and tissue stem cells?

Cord blood stem cells are a perfect match for the baby they are collected from and pose no risk of rejection when transplanted. These stem cells also have a one-in-four chance of being a suitable match for the baby’s brother or sister.

Look at banking stem cells as an extra form of medical insurance. “If you have a family history of blood-related diseases, you should definitely bank the baby’s cord blood,” advises Catherine Brazier, Communications and Marketing Manager at Netcells Biosciences. Storage should be strongly considered if there is a family history of certain illnesses, especially blood cancers, as well as for families of ethnic minorities or racially mixed couples, who may struggle to find compatible donors if needed. The chances of needing the stem cells are not high, but with all the research being done, it is likely that collection will increase in the future as more diseases become treatable through stem cell therapy.

You should start considering stem cell storage from the 20th week of pregnancy. This gives you time to do research, find out what your options are, and budget for the costs. It is advisable that you register with Netcells Biosciences from 30 weeks of pregnancy.

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