Why You Should Bank Cord Tissue: A Simple Guide to Stem Cells
Medical advancements in stem cell research have improved exponentially in the last 10 years and continue to make strides everyday. Stem cells, which exist in and can be extracted from the umbilical cord, have the ability to essentially become any cell in the body and treat a wide array of diseases. With the emergence of both public and private stem cell storage banks, many parents are now choosing to save these invaluable stem cells which can only be retrieved at the time of birth.
More and more, parents are choosing to store the umbilical cord stem cells from both cord blood and cord tissue as an insurance policy for their children, should they ever need them for treatment. While cord blood banking is more common and familiar than tissue banking, both types of cells can be stored simultaneously and serve different purposes. Here we explain the differences between the types of stem cells and why it is valuable to store both.
What cord blood stem cells can do for blood related diseases, cord tissue stem cells can do for everything else in the body. There are two types of stem cells in the umbilical cord: hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) which can be found in the cord blood, and mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) which are a component of the cord tissue. Hematopoietic stem cells can transform into any of the blood cells and cellular blood components in our bodies such as white and red blood cells, platelets, and so forth. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are multipotent and can therefore differentiate into many types of different cells and tissues such as organ and muscle tissue, skin, bone, cartilage and fat cells. So essentially what cord blood stem cells can do for blood related diseases, cord tissue stem cells can do for everything else in the body. Both types of stem cells are a one hundred percent genetic match to the baby and partial matches for parents and siblings, so banking both types of cells ensures more options for treatment should a family member ever need it.
The uses for cord tissue are infinite. While currently not approved for treatment in the United States, cord tissue is the fastest growing area of stem cell research and promises to inspire new treatments and therapies for the near future. There are currently trials underway aiming to find cures for Alzheimer’s, heart disease, diabetes and even HIV using MSCs. And with over 50 other potential treatment possibilities, researchers do not question if – but rather, when – these therapies will be approved.
Just like cord blood has become widely accepted among parents and the medical community, so will cord tissue. Since its introduction to the public, the technology surrounding cord blood banking has dramatically improved. Americord Registry, for instance, now collects the largest volume of umbilical blood which allows for potential treatment opportunities long into adulthood. Parents who bank cord blood and tissue recognize the once in a lifetime opportunity to bank their baby’s stem cells as an insurance policy for life. They are the front runners of medical technology and look optimistically to the future for their children. Sign up to get your cord blood 3 in 1 collection kit from Americord today!