Cord blood is a peculiar source of stem cells that boasts many advantages over traditional sources of stem cells. The number of clinical trials using cord blood is steadily increasing and further proving the potential of cord blood. If you’re unfamiliar with cord blood and how it differs from other sources of stem cells, this blog post is for you!
1. What’s The Difference Between Cord Blood And Bone Marrow Stem Cells?
Cord blood boasts many benefits over stem cells sourced from bone marrow. Bone marrow transplants are not a simple medical procedure. Merely donating bone marrow requires surgery under general anesthesia. At least a quart or more of bone marrow mixed with blood is required for a successful transplant. Bone marrow also has a very short shelf life, lasting just hours after extracted from a donor. Cord blood can be cryopreserved, and there have been successful transplants after 13 years of storage.
Cord blood has enormous potential to advance stem cell-based therapies. Stem cells harvested from cord blood are highly hematopoietic which allows them to easily adapt to any cell the human body requires to facilitate the healing process. The medical possibilities have the potential to become endless once we figure out how to fully harvest the power of stem cells from cord blood. Check out these three benefits of using cord blood!
2. Cord Blood Is Easy To Collect
Unlike other procedures used to collect stem cells, cord blood banking is a completely pain-free process. Cord blood can be collected at the same time the umbilical cord is removed. Neither the baby or the mother will feel pain during the collection. Other methods to get stem cells such as bone marrow collection, requires general anesthesia and an invasive surgical procedure. Cord blood is the safest way to access the cells in the human body that have the potential to change how we approach healthcare.
3. Cord Blood Usually Matches Better
Stem cell therapies only work if they’re a match for the receiver. It’s possible to find a match through public databases, however, the chances are much lower. Health complications can arise if an improper match is used in a transfusion. The chances of locating a match are much higher when you look to your family for a source. Siblings have a 25% chance of being a perfect match and 50% chance of being a partial match.
Between siblings, you have a 75% chance to find a match. Parents have a 100% chance of being at least a partial match with their children. Harvesting your child’s cord blood is an investment in the future health of your family.
4. Cord Blood Transplants Pose A Lower Risk Of Complications
So far, clinical studies have shown cord blood to be better accepted by the body after transfusion. The risk of post-transplant graft versus host disease (GVHD) is severely diminished when stem cells from cord blood are used. According to the National Institute of Health, the closer the family relation the lower the risk of GVHD.
Related family members have about a 35%-45% chance of GVHD after a transplant. The risk jumps up to 60%-80% when you get stem cells from someone who isn’t blood-related. Cord blood cells are generally better accepted since they’re new and less likely to be contaminated with latent viruses. Cord blood is considered to be a “pure” stem cell source, which can’t be said for other sources such as bone marrow and adipose tissue.
All in all, using cord blood creates many exciting opportunities. Harvesting your child’s cord blood at birth is a great way to invest in the health of your child and compatible family members.