Cord Blood Cells May Offer the Potential for Future Treatments

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Umbilical Cord blood is the blood that remains in the umbilical cord after a baby is born and the umbilical cord is cut. It contains red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and plasma, like blood1. In addition, cord blood is a rich source of stem cells that may have potentially lifesaving benefits for your baby and family.4,9

Cord blood stem cells have already been used in treating over 20,000 patients for a wide range of diseases, including types of leukemia and immune system illnesses.2 Cord blood stem cell treatment is still considered experimental and scientists continue to research its uses in treating other diseases like cerebral palsy, stroke, and diabetes…2,10 As further scientific breakthroughs are made, the potential for using cord blood stem cells to treat a variety of diseases and conditions may continue to increase.

There are several options for cord blood banking, including private banking and donation.

When you privately bank your baby’s cord blood stem cells, you have a stem cell unit that is a genetic match to your baby, should a doctor determine that a transplant with the stem cell unit should ever be needed. It may also be possible that the cord blood stem cells will be a suitable match for a family member who is a blood relative, including siblings, your spouse, or even yourself as determined by a doctor. Given that 30% people who require a stem cell transplant do not receive one because they are not able to find a donor with more than 1 HLA (Human Leukocyte Antogen) match, it may be advantageous to have your baby’s cord blood stem cells preserved3 and readily available should a doctor determine that an individual’s stem cells can be used for transplant. In a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1997, the doctors analyzed 143 cord blood transplant patients who received cord blood from either a related or unrelated donor, between October 1998 to December 1996, to determine survival based on whether the donor and recipient were related or unrelated. The doctors concluded that using a cord blood stem cell unit from a family member results in patient survival rates that are more than twice as high as a cord blood stem cell unit from an unrelated donor.4

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Findings from an analysis of 143 patients who received cord blood transplants from 1988 to 1996 at 45 transplantation centers. 63% represents 49 out of 78 patients who received a transplant from a related donor. 29% represents, 19 out of 65 patients who received a transplant from an unrelated donor.4