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Now after the birth of the child, the umbilical cord that connects the baby to the placenta is clamped and cut. After securing good care of the baby, the extra blood from the placental side of the umbilical cord is collected using a specific procedure under aseptic conditions. This blood is known as cord blood.
3 classical functions of Umbilical Cord Blood Stem cells:
Plasticity: Potential to convert into other cell types like nerve cells
Homing: To travel to the site of tissue damage
Engraftment: To unite with other tissues
The blood from the placental side of the umbilical cord is rich in haematopoietic stem cells.
1.Possess the power to translate into new blood and immune cells
2.Have a much higher potential for regeneration and repair than adult bone marrow stem cells.
These cells can be used to help treat various diseases related to blood and the immune system. For example, Leukemia is a group of cancers where mutating blood cells result in fewer healthy white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. One treatment option in such cases is a haematopoietic stem cell transplant, where such cells are put into the patient’s bloodstream to help make new healthy blood cells.
Such transplants carry the risk of graft-versus-host-disease (GVHD), where the donated stem cells perceive the patient’s cells as potentially harmful foreign bodies and thus attack them. GVHD is less likely to occur when the transplanted stem cells are the patient’s own or come from a blood relative because such donors can be a close genetic match with the patient.
This specialised cell can be used to help treat various diseases related to blood and the immune system. Cord blood is currently used in stem cell transplant to treat malignant and non-malignant conditions in children and adults especially related to blood and immune system
WHY CORD BLOOD STEM CELLS?
-Unlimited source of stem cells from biological waste.
-Collection of cord stem cells is painless.
-Collection of cord stem cells is risk-free to mother and baby.
-Cord blood stem cells have a greater ability to differentiate into other cell types like adult stem cells.
-These cells have longer growth potential and have been shown to have a greater rate of engraftment than adult stem cells.