Using Cord blood for leukemia treatment

Stem cells are the source of blood cells in human bodies. Stem cells are found in immature condition in bone marrows and hence bone marrow transplant is the best known treatment to cure stem cell related diseases.

Bone marrow availability for transplant is very low compared to the demand and so many patients wait unsuccessfully to undergo their transplant surgeries Cord blood provides an option to such patients with stem cell related problems like leukemia etc.

A child’s umbilical cord blood, which is normally discarded, has been found to contain a small amount of blood. This blood contains a rich amount of immature stem cells that can grow into any type of blood cells.

Further this cord blood can be easily stored, preserved and used for matching patients who have diseases like anemia, leukemia etc. Cord blood can be stored and banked for private or public use to treat diseases like leukemia.

Parents should take a decision about storing or banking their baby’s cord blood during the pregnancy period itself. In most cases the decision to store the cord blood is easy, as it is normally discarded blood and if it can be used to save lives of leukemia or other kinds of patients, parents would be ready to donate it.

In such cases the cord blood will be stored if found eligible for transplant. The cord blood will be tissue typed and if a matching patient with leukemia or other serious disease requires it, it will be sent to the requesting hospital for treatment and use during the transplant.

The tough decision is mostly related to whether to reserve the cord blood or not. This is further complicated by the economic implication as the cord blood banks normally charge a storage fee for storing cord blood, whereas donating it is mostly free of cost.

The decision about reserving cord blood becomes easy, If there is already a child or family member in the family with conditions like leukemia, sickle cell anemia, immune deficiencies or other stem cell related disease, in which case the probability of needing the cord blood is high

Sometimes private banks and even insurance provides offer free cord blood banking and reserving based on certain eligibility conditions.
These include that the family has one child diagnosed with a disease that might need the cord blood transplants from a sibling, including conditions like lymphomas, leukemia, immune deficiency conditions etc.

Cord blood is thus a boon to such patients suffering from various immune diseases or diseases like leukemia, anemia etc as it is easily available