Understanding cord blood therapy

Cord blood is collected from the umbilical cord immediately after a baby is born. In the past, it was viewed as a waste product, but current research indicates that cord blood has the ability to help treat a variety of diseases. Currently, there are several cord blood treatments available, and more are being developed all the time. Here are some of the most common uses for cord blood therapy:

- Aids in the treatment of certain genetic disorders, including Fanconi anemia and Coeliac disease, and conditions involving the immune system, such as leukaemia
- Can help improve blood supply in adult patients with leukemia or other types of cancer
- Can help rebuild tissue in cases of injuries caused by accidents or burns

Since this cells can be used as other types of cells and can be used as building blocks in the body, these cells are unique particularly from the autologous person (the same person who is the donor). These stem cells in the umbilical cord blood are stored and preserved for future use as this would be a priceless cure. These stem cells can be later reintroduced in the body to cure certain diseases and also it performs repair work in the body. Using own cells involves no harm but it is a very good source of stem cells for the regenerative therapy.

This whole process of infusion of umbilical cord blood therapy involves therapy. This procedure is almost free from the risk. However there are certain conditions in which cord blood infusion could not be done.

This is because the DNA of cord blood may contain the same error as that of the remaining of the child’s DNA. Some of these conditions include x-linked aqueductal stenosis or Trisomy conditions (Down syndrome, Patau syndrome, Edward’s syndrome etc).

One such example can be in case of Down syndrome therapy is the increased risk of developing leukemia and the condition is worsened on introducing more number of cells. While there are also the conditions in which the infusion of cord blood would not make any difference in prognosis.

Among various advanced cell therapies used in clinical development, umbilical cord blood stem cell therapy used to treat blood cancer is widely accepted therapy. Several therapies are being used today that utilises cord blood stem cells. These include Bone Marrow Stem Cells for Adult Stem cell Transplant, Peripheral blood stem cells for Adult Stem Cell Transplant, umbilical cord blood stem cell transplant.

Among these therapies, adult stem cell transplant: bone marrow stem cells is the best known therapy which is used to treat various blood disorders, leukaemia and other types of cancers. If the transplant therapy is successful, the stored stem cells will transfer into the patient’s bone marrow and there it produces new and healthy leukocytes replacing the abnormal ones.
The bone marrow stem cells can be drawn easily from the bones.

These stem cells are also present in abundance inside the bones of the humans as compared to the ones found in the bloodstream. Thus bone marrow stem cell therapy is regarded as one of the simplest therapies found. It is done as peripheral blood stem cell transplant or adult stem cell transplant.

Unlike bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cells, umbilical cord blood cell transplants are less likely to be rejected. The reason for this lies in the fact that the stem cells are not mature enough to have developed the features which can be recognized or attacked by the recipient’s immune system.

On the other hand, since the well-developed blood cells are absent hence there is no such danger of attack to the recipient’s body from the transplanted cells.

Thus the umbilical cord blood stem cells are versatile and easily available and hence an important resource in transplant therapies.

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