The Value of Cord Blood Storage
With all the excitement over a new pregnancy, parents reading a pamphlet on cord blood storage may not be as high on their list as, say, decorating the nursery. However, cord blood storage, also know as stem cell preservation, marks one of the most exciting ways that the new life about to enter the world will impact those around it. New parents have a chance to use cord blood storage to save lives.
Since 1990, doctors have used the ability to gather and preserve some of the ultra-rich stem cells that thrive in the blood of a newborn’s umbilical cord. The process known as cord blood storage is quite simply getting umbilical blood to a lab after drawing it from the severed umbilical cord at birth and putting it in to a deep freeze. The cord blood storage, or cryogenic process is so effective that cells remain viable for more than 20 years and may show minimal deterioration.
The “good part” of the cord blood storage story
Stem cells are among the most dynamic and adaptable cells in the entire body, and they can be found in a baby’s umbilical cord blood. Once retrieved from cord blood storage (the state of being cryogenically frozen), the cells may be utilized in a number of ways.
Currently, stem cells are most commonly utilized in transplant medicine to regenerate a patient’s blood and immune system after the patient has been treated with chemotherapy and/or radiation to destroy cancer cells. The list of diseases where stem cells can assist with the healing process is lengthy, and supports the value of cord blood storage a many times over. The list includes leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease, Aplastic Anemia, Sickle Cell Anemia, various other cancers, blood diseases, hereditary/genetic conditions and immune system disorders. In addition, current research holds significant promise for improving the treatment of some of the most common diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and Alzheimer’s with the stem cells preserved during cord blood storage.