3 Facts Everyone Should Know About Stem Cells


Cord Blood is the blood that remains in the umbilical cord andplacenta following birth. Cord Blood is routinely discarded with the placenta and umbilicalcord. The blood in the cord is a rich source of stem cells. Stem cells are the building blocks of your blood and immunesystem. Stem cells have the ability to differentiate into other types ofcells in the body, and thus give rise to all the tissues, organsand systems in the body. The stems cells in a child’s cord blood are genetically unique tothe baby and its biological family.

Due to stem cells ability to differentiate into other types ofcell tissue in the body, treatments can be developed for diseasessuch as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and Diabetes to name a few. Stem cells found in the cord blood are a valuable biologicalresource that researchers can use to investigate the potential offuture applications for cord blood stem cells.

Cord Blood Banking

Cord Blood Banking is the process whereby umbilical cord bloodstem cells are saved for potential medical uses. Cord blood banking includes the processes of collection,processing and storing of the umbilical cord blood. Collection involves drawing the cord blood from the umbilicalcord, using either the syringe or bag collection method, afterthe umbilical cord has been clamped and cut. Processing involves the testing of the cord blood to determinewhether it meets eligibility standards and removing and red bloodcells or plasma that will not be needed in transplantation. Storage involves storing the cord blood unit in a vinyl orplastic bag in which it is frozen in liquid nitrogen.

There are two types of cord blood banks. Firstly there are the family banks, which store the umbilicalcord for one’s own family use. Secondly, there are the public donor banks, which store theumbilical cord blood for unrelated or non-family use – which ispublic use. Every parent has the option of saving their baby’s cord blood fortheir family use, while only a small number of people may be ableto donate their baby’s cord blood stem cells.

Cord Blood Stem Cells

There are three sources of stem cells: bone marrow, peripheralblood (that is the blood that circulates through the body) andumbilical cord blood. Cord blood stem cells, however, are different from other types ofstem cells. By freezing these cells, any aging or damage to these cells isprevented, that usually occurs later in life. Umbilical cord blood stem cells are also more proliferate thanadult stem cells, such as those found in bone marrow. 

The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to medically diagnose, treat or cure any disease. Consult a health care practitioner before beginning any health care program.

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Author: Piyawut Sutthiruk

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