Why save cord blood, cord tissue, and placenta tissue?

Cord blood remains in the umbilical cord and placenta following a baby’s birth. Cord blood is a rich source of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), currently used to treat about 80 blood- and bone-related diseases.

Cord tissue refers to the tissue of the umbilical cord, not the blood it contains. Cord tissue contains mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), which can transform into many different kinds of cells, including organ, muscle, bone, and cartilage cells. MSCs are not currently being used for treatment, but they’re being investigated in over fifty clinical trials worldwide because it’s thought that someday they may treat a huge array of diseases.

Placenta tissue is a rich source of MSCs. Using our proprietary technique, we extract MSCs from the placenta that are a genetic match to the mother and may someday be used therapeutically.


What are stem cells?

A stem cell is a cell that has the ability to renew itself and differentiate into other kinds of cells. There are many types of stem cells, some of which are more valuable from a medical point of view than others. The most therapeutically valuable stem cells, called hematopoietic stem cells, are found in the greatest numbers in the cord blood of newborns. There are two primary reasons for preserving your newborn baby’s stem cells: (i) access to existing and emerging stem cell therapies if you or a family member needs them; and (ii) the promise of regenerative medicine. Stem cells have been used to treat over 80 serious diseases and have the potential to treat conditions that have no cure today.


What diseases are being treated with stem cells?

Cord blood stem cells are in use in medical therapies for more than 80 diseases and conditions, and there are several clinical trials studying possible treatments using cord tissue and placenta tissue stem cells.


Are experimental treatments being done with stem cells?

Yes, experimental treatments are the subject of research for diseases and conditions including Parkinson’s Disease, arthritis, Alzheimer’s Disease and stroke recovery. Click here for a list of diseases for which stem cell treatments are the subject of ongoing research.


Can stem cells be used to treat adults?

Yes, stem cells can be used to treat adults. The problem is that traditional cord blood banking often only collect enough stem cells to treat someone under 65 pounds. With Cord Blood 2.0™, it is now possible to collect enough stem cells to treat an adolescent and adult.


Can cord blood stem cells be multiplied?

For more than ten years, biotechnology companies and cord blood banks have been studying how to expand cord blood stem cells in a lab setting. Unfortunately, this has not yet been proven to be a reliable or viable therapeutic approach. When cultured, stem cells rapidly begin to differentiate into other tissue types, rather than multiplying into more stem cells.


Who should save cord blood, cord tissue, or placenta tissue stem cells?

Families preparing to adopt a newborn should consider saving stem cells since, if they are ever needed, the cord blood and placenta stem cells may be the only available genetic source of stem cells for the adopted baby. In addition, depending upon the terms of the adoption, complete family medical histories may not be available and stem cells might provide valuable medical information for the purposes of personalized medicine.

Couples using fertility treatments that involve a donor egg and/or sperm should consider saving stem cells because this may be the only opportunity to secure a genetically related sample of stem cells for their child.


Should you save stem cells from each of your children?

Children are genetically unique and so are their stem cells. Saving stem cells for each child ensures an exact genetic match is available. In addition, it increases the likelihood of a useful match for other family members. Stem cells from a sibling’s umbilical and placental cord blood are up to twice as likely to be useful for a transplant as compared to stem cells from a sibling’s bone marrow. Even with identical twins, it is important to save as many stem cells as possible, and it is recommended that stem cells be collected from both babies. In general, the collection volume per baby in multiple births is smaller, so collecting placenta and cord blood stem cells for both babies helps ensure an adequate stem cell yield for transplantation if needed.


What is the difference between cord blood and cord tissue?

The physical tissue of the umbilical cord, (not to be confused with the cord blood that is drained from the umbilical cord), contains mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). MSCs are a different type of stem cell than those that are collected from cord blood in the umbilical cord because they are tissue-based and can proliferate into skin, connective tissue, bones, cartilage, and even organs. The type of stem cells that exist in great numbers in cord blood are called hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and they are blood-based stem cells.