Umbilical cord blood stem cells
Umbilical cord blood stem cells
Umbilical cord blood stem cells
Umbilical cord blood stem cells could change your baby’s life
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. 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:
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.
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|
|Routine use in humans|
|Low tumour risk|
|Does not require powerful drugs to collect|
|Capacity for high proliferation|
|Low viral contamination risk|
|Non-invasive and painless to collect|
Umbilical cord blood stem cells have the power to repair, regenerate and save lives.
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:
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. Early studies have shown that mesenchymal stem cells play a crucial role not only in the repair and renewal of these tissue types, but also in regenerating entire organs, such as the heart.
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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.
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.
Our unique CellsPlus processing technology delivers between 2.2 and 3 times more stem cells at the point of therapy than other currently available cord blood processing methods. 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?
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?
What are the advantages of umbilical cord blood stem cells?
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* based on CyteTech’s peer reviewed publication showing that TotiCyte delivers 2.2 to 3 times more haematopoietic stem cells at the point of use than other cord blood processing systems in use in the UK.
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