Process Involved In Cord Blood Storage
Umbilical cord blood storage is relevant today as research has proven that cord blood, the blood in a baby’s umbilical cord is one of the best sources for adult stem cells. It is used for the re-population of the patient’s bone marrow after a session of chemotherapy or radiation therapy, as well as many other uses. It can be collected immediately after birth and stored for future potential use by the baby, matching siblings or any HLA matched unrelated patient. Prior to these discoveries, cord blood was discarded as biological waste.
Cord blood storage begins by collecting umbilical blood in blood collection bags that hold 250 ml of blood. Anticoagulant is added to the bag to prevent the blood from clotting. Once the blood is collected, it is sent to the blood bank center for processing, testing and storage. Research has shown that optimal cells can be recovered if the specimen is processed within 48 hours of collection. A cord blood company should be utilizing processing methods in which the cord blood is processed in a closed system. This system limits the bacterial contamination of the cord blood.
The first step of cord blood processing lies in the removal of red blood cells to insure stem cell viability. Each cord blood company utilizes a different method of processing steps ranging from chemical reagents, to centrifuging the specimen, to automation. The critical cells are then cryogenically stored in liquid or vapor nitrogen systems at a temperature of -190 degrees Celsius. These stored units should be equipped with electrical power generators in case of a power failure.