1 in 3 People May Benefit from Regenerative Medicine in Their Lifetime
It’s been estimated that 1 in 3 people may benefit from regenerative medicine during their lifetime.[i] Regenerative medicine is an exciting new approach to treatment that involves regenerating tissues and organs, both in the living body and in the laboratory. The US Department of Health and Human Services says that regenerative medicine “will revolutionize health care treatment” by developing therapies for previously untreatable diseases and conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, osteoporosis, and spinal cord injuries.[ii]
Stem cells play an important part in many aspects of regenerative medicine because they have the ability to differentiate into almost any type of cell found in the human body. Stem cells from umbilical cord blood, cord tissue, and placenta tissue are thought to have distinct advantages over stem cells from bone marrow for regenerative medicine. Stem cells from newborns are younger than those extracted from bone marrow. Because of that, they’re more “tolerant” and less likely to cause graft-versus-host disease. Researchers also think that younger stem cells are more plastic, meaning they can differentiate into a greater variety of cell types.
In the US, clinical trials are now underway to evaluate the use of cord blood stem cells in treating autism (which affects 1 in 88 children), cerebral palsy, and traumatic brain injuries. With the future of regenerative medicine looking bright, it makes good sense to bank your child’s cord blood now.
[i] Harris DT. Cord blood stem cells: a review of potential neurological applications. Stem Cell Rev. 2008;4:269-274. doi: 10.1007/s12015-008-9039-8.
[ii] US Department of Health and Human Services. 2020: A new vision: A future for regenerative medicine. 2006. Available at: http://medicine.osu.edu/regenerativemedicine/documents/2020vision.pdf. Accessed November 3, 2014.