Understanding Cord blood stem cell transplant

For people who suffer from blood cell related diseases like Leukemia (Condition where bone marrow produces excess blood cells), anemia (where the blood cells production is lesser than required) and a few other diseases, the best option for a complete cure was bone marrow transplant.

Currently a new way of treatment has been found and is being practiced that consists of using the Cord blood of a matching donor to provide the required amount of good quality stem cells to cure the problem and this is called stem cell transplant.

Bone marrows consist of special component called stem cells. These stem cells are primarily responsible for producing all the required blood cells for a human being throughout his life.

Some other possible places where stems cells can be found are hair follicles, fat, muscles, some embryos etc., but bone marrow is the most accepted, researched source of stem cells used for transplants.

Recently doctors and researchers have found that the cord blood i.e. the blood present in the umbilical cord of a baby during birth, can be a great stem cell source.

This cord blood can be drained and stored and can be used in case of stem cell requirement for the same person or others.The procedure to collect the cord blood is pretty simple and does not harm the baby or the mother as the procedure is done after the birth.

Once the baby is born, the umbilical cord is clamped. A small amount of blood remains in the umbilical cord andtheplacenta.

This cord blood can be drained and then tested to find out whether there are no infections and whether it satisfies certain conditions.

If the cord blood is found okay and satisfactory, it is processed for long term storage and is quarantined under proper temperature until it is required as for any stem cell related operation or transplant.

Storing the cord blood and the stem cells required specialized procedures and equipment that can be found in stem cell banks. Currently there are a good number of private and public banks that act as a storage place for cord blood.

In case of private banks this cord blood can be used by the particular donor or his family in case of potential need due to stem cell transplant or any other requirement.

In case of a public bank, the cord blood is available and logged in a database to be found in case of stem cell search by any potential and matching recipient

Cord blood as a source for stem cell is being used in large numbers in hospitals and the results have been very successful.