Cord blood stem cells
Stem cells, often called 'master cells,' gives rise to specialized
cells in the body's tissues and organs. Its potential to treat disease
is exciting because they replace diseased and dysfunctional cells
with new ones.
Scientists constantly attempts to identify new source of stem cells, and one such source is cord blood. Cord blood stem cells are important factors for a fully functioning immune system. They are also known as white blood cells, which are vital for fighting infections; red-blood cells for oxygen transportation and platelets which is crucial for clotting.
Bone marrow stem cells
Also knowns as placental blood, it is the remaining blood in the
umbilical cord and placenta once the cord is cut. Cord blood is usually
thrown or disposed following the baby's birth. However, cord blood
is a valuable source of stem cells.
Of all the known types of stem cells, cord blood holds the major advantage because they are considered as the 'youngest' and 'freshest' among others. And unlike embryonic stem cells, cord blood cells do not involve any destruction of the embryo. It doesn't have any DNA mutations that may have developed over time, as compared to adult stem cells.
The most beneficial contribution of cord blood stem cells has something to do with a condition known as GVHD, or graft versus host disease. This usually happens during transplant operations. Patients suffering from GVHD tends to have milder symptoms after receiving cord blood transplant, according to research.
Some of the serious conditions that cord blood cells could treat
includes Alzheimer's disease, cardiovascular
disease, Parkinson's disease and stroke. Cord blood stem cells
can also be used for chemotherapy, where they replenish the patient's
immune system and blood.
Scarcity of cell in a cord blood unit is one challenge that is relative
to a patient's size, hence not everyone's first choice for transplantation
therapy. Cord blood stem cells may also delay the completion of new
immune system and blood cells because it tends to take longer to grow.
Potential risk is also high for cord blood stem cells because research to support its benefits is not advanced for bone marrow transplantation therapy.
Doctors are trying different ways to improve the number of cells in cord blood unit. One would be the use of two cord blood units to patients, and the other would be growing the required number of cells in the laboratory before applying to the patient.
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Cord blood stem cells | Stem cell from cord blood research | Cord blood stem cell therapy