Umbilical cord blood stem cells

Umbilical cord blood stem cells could change your baby’s life

Umbilical cord blood stem cells

Umbilical cord blood stem cells could change your baby’s life

Umbilical cord blood stem cells

Umbilical cord blood stem cells could change your baby’s life

Powerful

Umbilical cord blood stem cells are pure and plastic, meaning that they can become almost any cell in the human body

Unique

Your child will never have another chance to access certain stem cell types that are only found in umbilical cord blood

Safe

Collecting umbilical cord blood stem cells is completely risk-free, non-invasive and painless

Umbilical cord blood is the blood that can be collected from your baby’s umbilical cord and the placenta after they are born. Umbilical cord blood contains billions of powerful stem cells, which are already used to treat over 80 different diseases. They may even hold the key to regenerative medicine for your child in the future. This is why millions of parents in the UK and around the world chose to store blood from their children’s umbilical cord and placenta.

What are stem cells and what can they do?

Stem cells are powerful master cells that have two unique properties:

The ability to self-renew indefinitely

The power to divide into specialised cells

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This means that when your body needs more stem cells, they can replicate to produce more specialised cells that can replace damaged ones. Your child’s body has over 200 types of specialised cells, including hair, skin, organs, brain and nervous system cells. Each of these cells will have originated from a stem cell and have just one crucial function.

For example, skin cells act as a protective barrier to the outside world while heart cells pump vital blood around their body. Red blood cells carry the precious oxygen that your child needs to function, and white blood cells form the immune system that prevents them from falling ill.

Given the right conditions and signals, your baby’s umbilical cord blood stem cells can differentiate into these different cell types. As a result, they are extremely valuable in treating an increasing array of medical conditions where specialised cells are damaged and require replacing.

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What makes umbilical cord blood stem cells different?

Stem cells are present in many parts of the human body. However, some sources contain richer concentrations than others. Human embryos are also excellent sources of stem cells but their use is controversial and illegal in some countries. In contrast, umbilical cord blood and tissue are collected from material that normally has no use following a child’s birth. They are the richest and purest source of stem cells that your child will ever have.

Storing umbilical cord blood stem cells therefore gives you the opportunity to safeguard your child’s health for years to come. Moreover, they can be easily and safely collected, and reliably stored for treating future health issues. This table compares umbilical cord blood and tissue stem cells with other stem cell sources:

Cord Blood Bone Marrow Peripheral blood Adipose
Potency YY Y Y Y
Availability YY Y Y Y
Routine use in humans Y N N N
Low tumour risk N N N N
Does not require powerful drugs to collect N N N
Contains HSCs N N N
Contains MSCs N N
Contains VSELs N
Capacity for high proliferation N
Low viral contamination risk N
Non-invasive and painless to collect N

Umbilical cord blood stem cells have the power to repair, regenerate and save lives.

SECURE THIS OPPORTUNITY FOR YOUR UNBORN BABY
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Stem cell types in cord blood

There are three main stem cell types in umbilical cord blood. These are haematopoietic stem cells, mesenchymal stem cells and very small embryonic-like stem cells. Each has its own function:

Haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs).
These cells have the ability to transform into various blood cells, including white blood cells. Medical professionals are using this type of stem cell in many current therapies, such as cancer therapy, to repair the immune system.

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Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs)
These cells have the ability to transform into a huge range of tissue types, including: nerve tissue / muscle tissue / cartilage.

As a result, these cells are considered extremely important for regenerative therapies. In the future, doctors will look to repair these tissue types with mesenchymal stem cells and even grow new organs.

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Very Small Embryonic-Like stem cells (VSELs)
Currently, we know less about the properties of VSELs. However, it is possible that they could be the most valuable stem cell type of all. As their name suggests, VSELs share many of the features of embryonic stem cells. This means they can transform into a wider array of tissue types than most other stem cell types. As a result, the number of potential conditions that they could be used to treat is far higher.

Quick questions…

Can umbilical cord blood be used more than once?

Whether or not you or your family could use their cord blood sample multiple times depends on the service you select and the size of the sample collected.

With Cells4Life’s unique CellsPlus service, samples yield three times more cells at the point of therapy than with the standard Cells package, which is powered by AXP. AXP is the processing system used by the NHS, as well as most major cord blood banks in the USA. For this reason, CellsPlus broadens the therapeutic opportunities available to you and your family. Find out more about how CellsPlus compares here.

What is cord stem cell storage?

Baby stem cell storage involves the long-term preservation and storage of stem cells collected at birth from the umbilical cord and placenta in a specialised storage facility.  Following the collection of stem cells at birth, it is vital that they are stored as quickly and efficiently as possible to preserve the quality of the samples.

To ensure quick and efficient cord stem cell storage, Cells4Life processes all umbilical cord stem cells within 24 hours of procurement, with the majority of samples processed in under 12 hours. Samples then undergo cryopreservation, which is a process of freezing the stem cells in the vapour phase of liquid nitrogen until they a required for therapy.

Cells4Life offers multiple sample storage, which involves splitting a sample across two locations. We only have to thaw the required amount of cells for any given therapy, leaving the rest in storage for later use.

Research has shown that stem cells collected at birth can remain viable after storage for at least 25 years and the prevailing view is that it should be possible to store them for much longer this, providing the benefit of umbilical cord blood banking for you and your baby for many years to come.

Are there any ethical issues attached to cord blood stem cells?

Unlike embryonic stem cells, umbilical cord stem cells are procured after a baby is born and the cord is clamped and cut. The collection is completely non-invasive and preserves a material that would otherwise be discarded as waste.

What are the advantages of umbilical cord blood stem cells?

Cord blood stem cells are younger and more naïve, which means they have a greater ability to differentiate into various cell types than other stem cells – such as those derived from bone marrow or adipose (fat). They are also easier to extract than most other cells, as the collection procedure occurs after the baby is born and in a completely separate room.

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*We have conducted in-house testing that shows TotiCyte recovers three times more stem cells at the point of therapy relative to our next best service, Cells. Cells uses AXP processing technology, which is used by the NHS and most cord blood banks in the USA.  A summary of these experiments can be found here.

References

Xiao-Peng Tang et al. “Differentiation of human umbilical cord blood stem cells into hepatocytes in vivo and in vitro” World J Gastronenterology 2006 Jul 7; 12(25):4014-4019 <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4087712/>

Anna Hordyjewska et al. “Characteristics of hematopoietic stem cells of umbilical cord blood” Cytotechnology 2015 May; 67(3):387-396 <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4371573/>

Ratajczak MZ, et al. “Umbilical cord blood-derived very small embryonic like stem cells (VSELs) as a source of pluripotent stem cells for regenerative medicine.” Pediatr Endocrinol Rev. 2012 Mar;9(3):639-43 <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22523831>

Benedetta Bussolati, “Stem cells for organ repair” Organogenesis 2011 Apr-Jun; 7(2): 95 <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3142444/>

Levitt, Alice. “A Ghost (Heart) of a Chance” Houstonia Magazine, accessed 18 March 2019. <https://www.houstoniamag.com/articles/2017/1/23/texas-heart-institute-new-research-ghost-heart>

 

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