Cord Blood Banking for Rare Diseases: How it Can Make a Difference for Your Family

  • RareDisease Blog - Cord Blood Banking for Rare Diseases: How it Can Make a Difference for Your Family

Bringing a new life into the world is a joyous occasion, but for families with a history of rare diseases or genetic conditions, it can also be a time of uncertainty. That’s where cord blood banking comes in – a process that can potentially provide a treatment option for rare diseases that have limited medical treatment options.

In this article, we’ll explore…

  • How cord blood banking can be particularly important for families with a history of rare diseases or genetic conditions.
  • Types of rare diseases that cord blood stem cells have been used to treat.
  • Why cord blood is a better treatment option for some rare diseases.

Why Cord Blood Banking is Important for Rare Diseases

Rare diseases and genetic conditions, such as leukemia, lymphoma, and other blood disorders, are often caused by mutations in a person’s DNA. These mutations can affect the function of certain genes, leading to a variety of symptoms and health problems.

In the last 30 years, scientists have proven that cord blood contains stem cells that may be used to replace damaged or diseased cells in the body. These newborn stem cells can differentiate into a variety of different cell types, making them useful for treating a wide range of conditions.

3 Reasons Why Cord Blood is an Ideal Treatment Option

Cord blood stem cells can be the best treatment option for some rare diseases and genetic conditions because they have unique properties that make them particularly effective in certain situations.

1. Cord blood stem cells are “naive” cells, meaning they haven’t yet specialized into specific types of cells like bone marrow stem cells have. This makes them more adaptable and able to differentiate into a wider range of cell types, which can be especially useful for treating conditions that affect multiple organs or tissues.

2. Cord blood stem cells have a lower risk of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) than bone marrow stem cells. GVHD is a potential complication of stem cell transplants in which the donor cells attack the recipient’s tissues. This can be a serious and even life-threatening complication, so minimizing the risk of GVHD is important.

3. Cord blood stem cells are collected and stored immediately after a baby is born, becoming readily available at a moment’s notice now or in the future. This can be especially important for families with a history of rare diseases or genetic conditions, as they can have peace of mind knowing that a potential treatment option is readily available.

Of course, it’s important to note that cord blood stem cells may not be the best treatment option for all rare diseases and genetic conditions. It’s important to discuss all of your treatment options with your healthcare provider and make an informed decision based on your individual situation. But for many patients, cord blood stem cells can be an excellent treatment option with unique advantages over other types of stem cells.

Understanding Cord Blood Banking

Cord blood banking is the process of collecting and storing the blood from a newborn baby’s umbilical cord after it has been cut. This blood contains a rich source of stem cells that can potentially be used to treat over 80 conditions and diseases.

The process of cord blood banking typically involves working with a cord blood bank to collect and store the cord blood. This can be done through either public or private cord blood banking.

With a public cord blood bank, you donate your newborn’s cord blood and it can then be used by anyone who needs it. With a private cord blood bank, your newborn’s cord blood is privately stored and is only available for your family’s use.

While there are costs associated with private cord blood banking, it can provide a valuable treatment option and peace of mind for families with a history of rare diseases.

If you’re considering cord blood banking, it’s important to do your research and discuss your options with your healthcare provider. They can help you understand the potential benefits and drawbacks of cord blood banking, as well as help you make an informed decision based on your individual situation. Remember to do this during your pregnancy journey, because there is only one opportunity to collect newborn cord blood and that is when they are born.

Types of Rare Diseases Cord Blood Stem Cells Have Been Used to Treat

Cord blood stem cells have been used to treat a variety of rare diseases and genetic conditions. For example, stem cells from cord blood have been used to treat inherited metabolic disorders like Hurler syndrome and Krabbe disease. They have also been used to treat immune system disorders like severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) and Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome.

In addition, cord blood stem cells have been used to treat certain types of cancer, including leukemia, lymphoma, and neuroblastoma. In some cases, stem cell transplants have been used as part of a clinical trial for rare autoimmune diseases like systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and multiple sclerosis (MS).

3 Reasons Why Cord Blood Stem Cell Treatment is a Better Option than Standard Medical Practices

Cord blood stem cell treatment can be a better option than standard medical practices for several reasons.

1. Stem cell transplants can potentially provide a cure for certain rare diseases and genetic conditions, while standard medical practices may only be able to manage symptoms.

2. Stem cell transplants can be less invasive than some standard medical practices. For example, in some cases, stem cell transplants may be used instead of a bone marrow transplant, which can be a more invasive procedure with a longer recovery time.

3. Stem cell transplants can be more effective than some standard medical practices. In some cases, stem cell transplants may be used instead of chemotherapy or radiation therapy, which can have serious side effects and may not be effective for all patients.

Of course, discuss your options with your healthcare provider for the best advice on your situation specifically.

What Does This Mean for Your Family?

Cord blood banking can be a valuable option for families with a history of rare diseases or genetic conditions. Stem cells from cord blood have been used to treat a variety of rare diseases and conditions, and can potentially provide a cure for some patients. Stem cell transplants can also be less invasive and more effective than some standard medical practices. If you’re considering cord blood banking, be sure to do your research and discuss your options with your healthcare provider.

Sources

American Academy of Pediatrics. (2017). Cord Blood Banking for Potential Future Transplantation. Pediatrics, 139(1). https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2016-2967

National Institutes of Health. (2016). Cord Blood Stem Cells: A Review of Potential Use for Transplantation. https://stemcells.nih.gov/sites/default/files/cord-blood-stem-cell-review.pdf

Parent’s Guide to Cord Blood Foundation. (2022). Diseases Treated by Cord Blood Transplants. https://parentsguidecordblood.org/en/diseases

Mayo Clinic. (2021). Cord Blood Banking: Understand Your Options. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/cord-blood-banking/about/pac-20385193

AABB. (2021). Cord Blood Banking. https://www.aabb.org/pbm/blood-basics/cord-blood-banking

World Health Organization. (2021). Cord blood stem cells for transplantation: A guide for cord blood banking professionals. https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789240025244

National Center for Biotechnology Information. (2019). The clinical use of human umbilical cord blood: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6357991/

2023-08-07T18:02:01+00:00

The views, statements, and pricing expressed are deemed reliable as of the published date. Articles may not reflect current pricing, offerings, or recent innovations.

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