Who Can Use My Baby’s Stem Cells?
Deciding to preserve your newborn’s stem cells will come down to a couple important considerations. Typically, families will consider the cost and potential usage for reasons why they should or should not invest in storing these useful cells.
In this blog, we’ll discuss newborn stem cell banking, its benefits, and how these cells could potentially be used – and more importantly, who can use them.
What is Stem Cell Banking?
Stem cell banking is the process of collecting, processing, and storing stem cells for potential future medical use. These powerful cells, derived from a newborn’s umbilical cord blood, cord tissue, or placental tissue, have unique properties that make them invaluable in the medical field.
Stem cells are unspecialized cells capable of renewing themselves through cell division, sometimes after long periods of inactivity. Under certain conditions, they can be induced to become tissue- or organ-specific cells with special functions. They have the unique ability to repair or replace damaged tissues, which is why they hold immense promise in the treatment of a wide variety of diseases.
How it Works
The process of stem cell banking occurs immediately after the birth of a baby. There are two types of stem cells that can be collected: hematopoietic stem cells and mesenchymal stem cells.
After birth, the healthcare provider clamps and cuts the umbilical cord as usual, and then extracts the leftover blood from the umbilical cord using a specialized kit. The cord tissue and placental tissue is also collected and placed in special, sterilized containers for transportation. This process is quick, painless, and poses no risk to either the mother or the newborn.
Once the cord blood and tissues are collected, they are shipped to a cord blood bank where they undergo testing, processing, and cryopreservation. During cryopreservation, the stem cells are cooled to a very low temperature to halt any biological activity and preserve the cells long-term without degradation.
The banked stem cells can remain viable for many years. While there’s no agreed-upon limit, successful transplants have been performed with stem cells stored for more than 25 years. Many researchers believe these cells could be stored indefinitely.
By banking your child’s stem cells, you could potentially provide a lifesaving resource for your child or a family member. These cells are a perfect match for the child and could also be a potential match for siblings or parents. The use of these cells has already changed the prognosis for diseases such as leukemia, lymphoma, and other blood and immune disorders. As research advances, the future potential of these cells continues to grow.
Let’s discuss more about how these powerful cells can help not only your newborn, but potentially the entire family.
Who Can Use These Stem Cells?
Preserved stem cells, such as those from cord blood, cord tissue, or placental tissue, can be used by various individuals, depending on genetic compatibility.
First and foremost, these stem cells are a perfect match for the child from whom they were collected. This means if the child ever develops a disease treatable by stem cells, their own banked cells could be used without the risk of immune rejection. This becomes particularly valuable for conditions with limited treatment options.
Stem cells also have a high probability of being compatible with immediate family members. Siblings have a 25% chance of being a perfect match and a 50% chance of being a partial match. Even parents may be compatible, although the likelihood is less than that of siblings. This compatibility is due to shared human leukocyte antigen (HLA) markers, which are proteins on the surface of cells that are used by the immune system to recognize self and non-self cells.
Moreover, if a family member is suffering from a disease that requires a stem cell transplant and doesn’t have a suitable match within the family or in public registries, the newborn’s banked cells could potentially serve as a lifesaver.
Even when the cells aren’t a perfect match, they can still sometimes be used effectively due to their immature nature. Newborn stem cells are less likely to cause a reaction called graft-versus-host disease, a significant complication that can arise after a stem cell or bone marrow transplant.
Furthermore, donated stem cells can also be used for research purposes, contributing to the scientific understanding of various diseases and development of new treatments.
It’s important to understand that the use of these cells isn’t guaranteed to cure a disease or disorder. The suitability and success of treatment will depend on various factors, including the specific disease, its stage, and the patient’s overall health. However, as research advances, the range of conditions that can be treated with stem cells is constantly expanding, making stem cell banking an investment in the future health of your child and potentially your family.
Benefits of Each Stem Cell Type
The diverse types of stem cells – cord blood, cord tissue, and placental tissue – each offer unique benefits due to their distinct properties and potential applications in medical treatment.
These stem cells are already a vital part of the medical community’s toolkit. As of today, cord blood stem cells are utilized as an FDA-approved treatment for over 80 conditions and diseases, including various types of leukemia, lymphoma, and other blood and immune disorders. They have proven to be a lifesaving resource in many instances. Additionally, these cells are easier to match for transplantation compared to bone marrow cells, offering a viable alternative when a suitable bone marrow donor cannot be found.
Cord tissue contains a rich source of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). These cells are capable of differentiating into various cell types, including bone, cartilage, muscle, and fat cells. MSCs also have potent anti-inflammatory properties and can modulate the immune system. While the clinical use of these cells is still in the early stages, they are the subject of numerous studies and clinical trials. Researchers are exploring their potential in treating conditions such as heart disease, stroke, spinal cord injuries, diabetes, and even neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s.
Placental tissue also contains a variety of stem cells, including MSCs and others. Like cord tissue, these cells are being studied for their regenerative potential. In addition, they are being explored for their potential role in wound healing and tissue repair. The placenta’s abundant supply of stem cells also opens the possibility of multiple treatments from a single collection, should the need arise.
As medical research continues to advance, we expect the list of treatable conditions using these stem cell sources to grow. By banking your child’s stem cells, you could potentially secure a resource that could play a significant role in treating various medical conditions in the future. Keep in mind that while these potential uses are promising, they are not guaranteed—the effectiveness of stem cell treatments can depend on a variety of factors, including the specific condition, treatment protocols, and the individual’s overall health.
What Does This Mean For You?
Stem cell banking offers more than just a medical service—it’s a potentially life-saving decision that may provide a measure of security for your child’s future health and that of your family. The unique qualities of cord blood, cord tissue, and placental tissue stem cells offer unparalleled potential in the field of regenerative medicine. Their ability to develop into various types of cells provides hope for the treatment of many diseases.
At Americord, we understand the profound significance of this decision and are committed to offering safe, effective, and affordable stem cell banking options. We adhere to the highest standards of quality and ethics, providing peace of mind for families who entrust us with their newborn’s stem cells.
The decision to bank your child’s stem cells is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. By choosing to preserve these precious cells, you are investing in a resource that could play a pivotal role in future medical treatments and advancements.
The views, statements, and pricing expressed are deemed reliable as of the published date. Articles may not reflect current pricing, offerings, or recent innovations.