Benefits of cord blood
The many reasons why you should bank include the benefit of knowing you are helping to protect your baby from 80-plus diseases. And that number is expected to continue to grow. Beyond the current treatments, clinical trials are underway for cord blood's use as a regenerative therapy in strokes, heart disease, diabetes and more.
Cord blood also has benefits over that need to be considered if you were to rely on a public bank or stem cells from other sources. These include all of the following:
Easy to collect
There is no pain or risk for the mother or baby in extracting the blood from the umbilical cord, and the collection process is easily performed at the same time as the cutting of the umbilical cord. Bone marrow collection, on the other hand, requires an invasive, surgical procedure and general anesthesia, which comes with its own inherent risks.
For stem cells to be successfully transplanted, they must be a match for the receiver. Matched stem cells can be found in some public databases, but the chance of finding a match is low and complications can arise with unrelated blood transfusions. Genetically related stem cells from a blood-related family member more often result in a successful transplant. If a public match cannot be found, the patient must often rely on his own stem cells or those from an immediate family member (if available).
Someone’s own stem cells are always a perfect match for him or herself. Siblings share a 25 percent chance of being a perfect match and a 50 percent chance of being a partial match. Altogether, this gives siblings a 75 percent chance of being a possible match. Since each parent provides markers used in matching, parents have a 100 percent chance of being a partial match. This means a child’s cord blood stem cells could one day be used to help his or her mother or father. In the end, it is up to the doctor to determine how close the match needs to be to perform a transplant.
Less risk of post-transplant complications
In addition to being better accepted entirely by the body, cord blood stem cells have significantly reduced risk of post-transplant graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). GVHD is when the transplanted cells attack the body. It’s a major complication of stem cell transplants. Risk of GVHD after a stem cell transplant depends on the relationship between the donor and the receiver according to the National Institute of Health:
Part of this better acceptance by the body is because cord blood stem cells have rarely been contaminated with latent viruses. The same is not true for stem cells from other sources. For this reason, cord blood stem cells have been dubbed “privileged” because they haven’t been exposed to any diseases.
- Identical twins: very low chance of suffering from GVHD
- Blood-related family members: 35%–45% chance of GVHD
- Unrelated: 60%–80% chance of GVHD
Benefits of cord tissue
The stem cells from cord tissue do share some of these benefits with cord blood but also have many benefits of their own including the ability to inhibit inflammation following tissue damage, to secrete growth factors that aid in tissue repair and to become one of many cell types found in your nervous system, sensory organs, circulatory tissues, skin, bone, cartilage and more. It is in the repair of tissues in these areas where cord tissue stem cells look promising. Here are some more benefits of cord tissue:
The stem cells found in cord tissue are at their peak ability to form other new stem cells. They also have a greater capacity to become one of many cell types. These abilities slow as the body ages. The immaturity of cells is also associated with a lower risk of an immune response, which can lead to chronic and even deadly complications.
They come in a higher yield
The number of stem cells found in the cord tissue can be anywhere from three times to 14 times as many compared to other sources.
They're more prolific
Cord tissue stem cells are more prolific, that is they reproduce to a greater degree, compared to similar cells from other sources.
They go straight to the source
Cord tissue stem cells have the ability to transport to sites of physical harm or damage. This migratory capacity is its own benefit.
They're easy to collect
As with cord blood, cord tissue is similarly easy to collect. After they have extracted the cord blood, the doctor will take a few inches of the umbilical cord for cryopreservation. There is no pain or risk for the baby or the mother.
In order to preserve more types and quantity of umbilical cord stem cells and to maximize possible future health options, Cryo-Cell’s umbilical cord tissue service provides expectant families with the opportunity to cryogenically store their newborn’s umbilical cord tissue cells contained within substantially intact cord tissue. Should umbilical cord tissue cells be considered for potential utilization in a future therapeutic application, further laboratory processing may be necessary. Regarding umbilical cord tissue, all private blood banks’ activities for New York State residents are limited to collection, processing, and long-term storage of umbilical cord tissue stem cells. The possession of a New York State license for such collection, processing and long-term storage does not indicate approval or endorsement of possible future uses or future suitability of these cells.